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Tokyo Megalopolis: Development Model, Governance Experience and Implications



By Xiong Hongru, Member of Research Team, DRC

Tokyo megalopolis is one of the few world-class metropolitan areas around the globe, whose development and governance experience makes good reference for China including its leading scale and development level, its intensive and multi-core development model and government-led governance mechanism, and in particular its sustainable international competitiveness despite the drastic historical changes in the course of Japan’s economic and social development.

1. The development characteristics of Tokyo megalopolis. The development of Tokyo megalopolis can be divided into three periods. During the first period, the embryonic form of megalopolis was featured by limited development scale and the construction of new cities against the backdrop of high-speed economic growth. The second period focused on the expansion of megalopolis and was featured by one-core concentration and moderate dispersion against the background of low-to-medium economic growth. The third period of megalopolis development was featured by separate multiple cores and a balanced separation between job and residential locations in the context of stagnant economic growth and prominent social conflicts.

2. Regional governance experience of the Tokyo megalopolis include both the integrated regional planning mechanism and the cross-administrative-area regional coordination mechanism.

3. Main conclusions and policy implications. First, we need to follow the megalopolis development model to optimize spatial structure and functional layout of Beijing and surrounding areas and realize integrated regional development; second, we need to set out an overall and scientific regional plan with dynamic adjustment and provide supportive institutional guarantee so as to promote a synergy development of the megalopolis; third, we need to accelerate the establishment of a flexible and effective cross-region administrative coordination mechanism in light of China’s conditions so as to enhance complementary regional cooperation.


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