Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Tokyo's Contested Alleyways : The Role of the Roji in Understanding Globalization, Attachment and the Social Construction of Place
Author: Imai, Heide
ISNI:       0000 0004 2677 4274
Awarding Body: The Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2009
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This thesis presents a study of the roji, a form of Japanese urban alleyway, which was once part of people's personal spatial sphere and everyday life but has increasingly been transformed by diverse and competing interests. Marginalised through the emergence of new forms of housing and public spaces, re-appropriated by different fields, and re-invented by the contemporary urban design discourse, the social meaning attached to the roji is being re-interpreted by individuals, subcultures and new social movements to fit hybrid and multiple concepts of living and life styles. The roji presents a unique opportunity to study the pressures of globalisation on smallscale ordinary places at the micro level. Focusing on the case of contemporary Tokyo and drawing on ethnographic data supported by a conceptual framework derived from theories of place and place-attachment, the thesis investigates the kind of functions the roji fulfilled in the city in the past, and the qualities of urban life that have been lost or changed as the alleyway has ceased to be an everyday part of the urban landscape. The thesis further analyses the physical social, personal and cultural dimensions of change, critically interrogating not only spatial marginalisation but also the process of personal re-interpretation and cultural re-appropriation that has befallen the roji. The thesis argues that an analysis of this marginalised urban form can lead to a deeper understanding of the dynamics of urban change and a more sensitive approach to the design of ordinary places. If urban planners and architects are to develop alternative approaches to the creation of diverse and versatile public places in contemporary cities to facilitate richer levels of social interaction, then they must confront the real and conceptual links between everyday practices of place making - the social construction, appreciation and attachment to place - and the ways in which places are affected and shaped by global forces.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available