The Olympic Games of Tokyo 2020 (now 2021), could it be an urban laboratory for transport experiments? The Games of 1964 have a very positive image in the Japanese imagination. The Japanese government had shown its technological skills by building the Shinkansen and the major urban highways of Tokyo. The 2020 edition is much less ambitious in terms of construction: renovation of the 1964 venues, reconstruction of the Olympic stadium, construction of the Olympic village and the media centre. These last elements are located on the bay of Tokyo, in the waterfront district at the heart of the urban renaissance policies promoted by successive governments since the 2000s.
In order to connect the Olympic venues, the central government and the metropolitan authorities are focusing on the construction of additional urban highways and bridges on Tokyo Bay, and on the establishment of a hydrogen-powered High-Service Bus line to reach the village, as well as on vehicles for individual or collective use provided by the IOC’s major partner: Toyota.
The announced postponement of the Games to 2021 creates a completely new research field: the Olympic and Paralympic Games are almost ready, but postponed by one year. This postponement not only has financial consequences for the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese authorities, but also challenges some of the experiments planned in this context, particularly with regard to urban mobility. From the policy of encouraging companies to shift the working hours of their employees, the experiments with hydrogen and/or autonomous vehicles, as well as the presentations of various types of robots, the observation of Tokyo during the summer and autumn of 2020 will make it possible to clearly distinguish between what the organizers wanted to set up in a sustainable way for the city, and what is a matter of simple communication.
This postponement changes everything, and we will try to understand the consequences for the organizers, the experiments and the urban policies on the horizon of the probable Tokyo 2021 Games.
Alexandre Faure (EHESS, FFJ) is a postdoctoral fellow at FFJ and coordinates the research axis: “Rethinking Global Cities: Global Issues and Local Practices”. He is also in charge of coordinating the editorial board of FFJ. Alexandre Faure integrated EHESS to study the relationship between political time and the temporalities of urban planning on different cases of study (renovation of the Halles de Chambéry – french Alps, Urban Renovation Master Plan in the suburb of Paris) and wrote his thesis with a doctoral contract at the Centre de Recherches Historiques (CRH) under the direction of Marie-Vic Ozouf-Marignier. His thesis which also focused on political and urban time, aimed at explaining the phenomenon of metropolisation in the parisian region in a multidisciplinary approach, mixing speeches, the study of urban planning documents and geopolitics of actors.
Alexandre Faure, « Financer un projet hors-norme : le nouveau réseau de métro du Grand Paris (2008-2018) », Belgeo [En ligne], 4 | 2019, mis en ligne le 04 février 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/belgeo/36271
Moderator: Adrienne SALA (IFRJ-MFJ)
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