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Building names(s): Miyashita Park
Architect/Designer: Atelier Bow-Wow
Completion date: 2011
function(s): civic, park, public space
About the Park:
After much protest by the local community, Miyashita Park re-opened in 2011. Much to everyone’s suprise the new park has been a success, creating much needed outdoor public space and generating urban renewal. The park was developed in collaborating with Nike Tokyo.
If you are interested in the controversy behind the park redevelopment,
David Morris gives his opinions on his blog:
“….So, how could this transformation from moribund and dreary to active and useful be a bad thing? The root problem for hundreds of activists who have spent a lot of energy opposing the changes seems to have been that they’re all planned and executed, not by Shibuya City, but by Nike. Initially, Nike was to pay the city a large sum of money each year for a decade for the right to officially rename it “Miyashita Nike Park.” Through demonstrations and direct action, the activists seem to have successfully stopped the renaming – when I went yesterday, there was no Nike branding on any signage, all of which simply said “Miyashita Park.” Even though this seems to have been the activists’ only real victory, it’s not a small one – for park users and residents to have it constantly shoved in their faces that Nike had essentially taken over a public park would have certainly had insidious long-term effects on whatever slim awareness of the idea of public space may remain in Tokyo.
But without the imposition of corporate ownership, what impact does this reconstruction have on the idea of public space? In the pictures above, you’ll see a healthy mix of people of all ages enjoying themselves, and most importantly, interacting outside of the confines of traditional work or school settings. It may not be explicitly politicized, but as anyone who lives in Tokyo can tell you, this is still deeply political. People from different walks of life are almost never brought together in relatively unstructured play environments, and it seems certain that the new Miyashita Park will act to strengthen social ties among area residents.
And the place truly is accessible to all. There are fees for using the facilities, but they’re almost nominal: 200 yen for skating and 350 for climbing, about $2.50 and $4.50 U.S. respectively. Futsal court rental runs from 4000 to 6000 yen per hour, but with two sides of five players, that breaks down to about 600 yen, or seven dollars, per player. Especially in Tokyo, these are truly trivial amounts of money, just enough, I would say, to guarantee that those using the facilities will take some responsibility….” read more