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July 1, 2022

Urban Systems Design Case Study: Tokyo’s Sumida Ward

Tobey, Michael B.; Binder, Robert B.; Yoshida, Takahiro; Yamagata, Yoshiki. (2019). Urban Systems Design Case Study: Tokyo’s Sumida Ward. Smart Cities, 2(4), 453 – 470.

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Meeting the needs of increasing environmental and systematic pressures in urban settlements requires the use of integrated and wholistic approaches. The Urban Systems Design (USD) Conceptual Framework joins the metric-based modeling of rationalized methods with human-driven goals to form a combined iterative design and analysis loop. The framework processes information for the fundamental element of cities-humans-to large-scale modeling and decision-making occurring in district- and ward-level planning. There is a need in the planning and design profession to better integrate these efforts at a greater scale to create smart communities that are inclusive and comprehensive in aspects from data management to energy and transportation networks. The purpose of this study is to examine the applicability of this method as it pertains to a model and design integrated approach. Northern Sumida Ward, located in Tokyo, exemplifies the contextualized needs of Tokyo, and Japan, while forming a coherent internal community. Focusing on methodology, our process explores the creation of typologies, metric-based analysis, and design-based approaches that are integrated into modeling. The results of the analyses provide initial evidence regarding the validity of the USD approach in modeling changes to complex systems at differing design scales, connecting various qualities of the built environment, building and urban forms, and diagnostic comparisons between baseline and change conditions. Because of some inconsistencies and the need for further evidence gathering, the methods and processes show that there is much work to be done to strengthen the model and to continue building a more productive field of USD. However, in this framework's continuing evolution, there is increasing evidence that combining the planning and design of urban systems creates a more resilient, economically viable, sustainable, and comfortable city.


Urban Planning; Resilience; Sustainability; Economics; Human Factors; Tokyo; Planning Support System; Gis