Tokyo is set to embark on an ambitious project aimed at renovating its urban landscape. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), office buildings that were constructed during the booming economy in the latter half of the 1980s are now due for reconstruction. Office buildings with old earthquake resistance standards need to be reconstructed, especially in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred in 2011.
In Shibuya, eight major office and commercial developments with high-rise buildings will occur between 2023 and 2029 and specifically the area surrounding the station, scheduled for completion in 2027. Sakura Stage in Shibuya, a 39-story building complex, will be completed in the fall and commercial facilities are to open by the summer of 2024.
Shibuya will become a place where people from all walks of life can easily visit.Masashi Okada, president of Tokyu Land Corporation
In the Toranomon area, about six kilometres from Shibuya, Mori Building Company has announced the opening of Toranomon Hills Station Tower in the fall of 2023. The skyscraper, developed with the Toranomon Hills subway station, will have 49 floors above ground and four below, standing approximately 266 meters high. The three towers already completed will provide offices, a hotel, commercial facilities and a centre for information dissemination, with a total development area of approximately 800,000 square meters.
1. Public transportation a key aspect
According to the WEF, Shibuya Station has average of 3.32 million boardings and disembarkations per day. It is served by nine train lines from four companies and has been under construction since 2015 to make access to one of the busiest train stations in Tokyo more convenient. The scale of the project was vast and disrupted operations, using around 4,000 workers for 53 hours and 30 minutes.
People’s lifestyles have changed as a result of digitization and the pandemic. Working-from-home is now a standard practice.Naoko Tochibayashi, Public Engagement Lead, World Economic Forum
The waterfront area, transformed by the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, is undergoing major changes. The former athletes’ village will be transformed into a huge condominium complex with approximately 12,000 residents, scheduled to open in March 2024. A redevelopment project is also underway at the former site of the Tsukiji Fish Market, which covers about 23 hectares.
Since the population in these waterfront areas will likely keep growing, the Tokyo Metropolitan government announced the development of a new subway system. The estimated project cost for the development is ¥420-510 billion, equivalent to approximately 10% of Tokyo’s annual revenue, expected to be profitable within 30 years of its opening envisioned for 2040. A connection from the subway to Haneda Airport is also being mused to strengthen international competitiveness further.
2. Looking into the future
The number of non-traditional office locations in Tokyo, such as shared offices and co-working spaces, has increased and renting offices by the day has become an option for companies. There are questions around the demand for traditional office buildings and whether the new subway system would be as profitable as planned.
Tokyo is expected to see its overall population decline by the mid-2030s. The opening of the new Toyosu market, which began construction in February 2014, was postponed from the original fall of 2016 to 2018, two years later.
The once-in-a-century redevelopment is an opportunity to make Tokyo a better place to live and even more attractive as a next-generation city that attracts companies and human resources from around the world. In addition, we must remember the magnitude-7 level earthquake expected to occur directly under the Tokyo metropolitan within the next 30 years. Disaster prevention functions of the city are, therefore, inevitable. It is expected that the city will be developed with an eye toward the next 100 years.