Non-Intentional Design: Investigating alterations of space/objects at the public/private boundary in suburban Tokyo, Japan. A resource by Contact: Chris Berthelsen

Brick Planter

A few bricks in the right place create a living and edible space out of dead in a Yanaka lane. Basil is fast growing and pretty hardy – great for an ad hoc spot of tasty green.

Dead Space Brick Planter
Dead Space Brick Planter

Materials: Bricks
Location: Yanaka, Tokyo

(Originally posted on Tokyo-DIY-Gardening)

Peg/Clip Storage

Pegs/Clips stored along streetside gate.
Peg/Clip Storage

Materials: Gate
Location: Sendagaya, Tokyo

Pocket Garden in Astroturf

This pocket garden perched on a residential fence is home to two healthy seedlings. The planter is constructed from an astroturf off-cut attached to the trellis fence with thin wire.

A simple and effective use of waste material.

Materials: Wire, Astroturf
Location: Akishima, Tokyo

(Originally posted on Tokyo DIY Gardening)

Preparing a Green Curtain

A large scale foundation for creeping greens constructed from simple materials – netting, plastic twine, and plastic rods. Coming up to, and through, the summer the climbers should take over this frame, creating shade and privacy in the summer months (like a living sudare (簾:すだれ)).

Preparing for Climbers
Preparing for Climbers
Preparing for Climbers
Preparing for Climbers

Materials: Netting, Plastic Twine, Plastic Rods
Location: Kokubunji, Tokyo

Tree Training

Trees are trained away from the driveway of a high-end residence in Shibuya with a length of string.

No matter the value of the real estate, the gardening fixes tend to be the same……

Tree Training
Tree Training
Tree Training

Materials: String
Location: Shibuya, Tokyo

(Oringinally posted on Tokyo-DIY-Gardening)

Apron Drying

Apron hung out to dry by its strings under a shop overhang (bottom left).
Apron Drying

Materials: Apron
Location: Shibuya, Tokyo

Hand Towel Drying Rack in Clothes Hanger and Bulldog Clip

Hand towel drying rack constructed from clothes hanger and bulldog clip. Last photo demonstrates the strength and necessity of the bulldog clip in the strong Shibuya wind.
Hand Towel Drying Rack in Clothes Hanger and Bulldog Clip
Hand Towel Drying Rack in Clothes Hanger and Bulldog Clip
Hand Towel Drying Rack in Clothes Hanger and Bulldog Clip

Materials: Clothes Hanger, Bulldog Clip
Location: Shibuya, Tokyo

Reflector Gate

Safety reflector tape on driveway gate and wall make late night parking a breeze.
Materials: Reflector Tape
Location: Hachioji, Tokyo

Entrance Tree

Tree trained over entrance gate with a sturdy wooden pole and rope.
Materials: Wooden Pole, Rope
Location: Hachioji, Tokyo

Gate held together with String, Wire and Hook

String tied around a hook keeps this gate open. Wire binds it to the concrete block wall.
Materials: String, Wire, Hook
Location: Akishima, Tokyo

Holding the House Together in String

The wall/entrance to this shed is held up by string attached to the roof.
Materials: String
Location: Akishima, Tokyo

Curbside Planter Support in Bricks and Wood

Planters supported by wood, bricks and curb.
Materials: Wood, Bricks
Location: Akishima, Tokyo

Three Uses for the Gas Meter

(1) A place to store brooms and the bicycle pump. (2) An umbrella stand. (3) Garden rubbish bin and garden implement storage.


Materials: Gas Meter
Location: Akishima, Tokyo

Clever Hook-based Hanging Garden

A clever solution for creating a hanging garden along a breeze block wall without damaging/affecting the structure in any permanent way.

Wire is threaded through the gaps in the ornamental blocks, and wound around from top to bottom. The ends are then twisted and bent up to form a robust hook for supporting a planter. The result is a (potential) wall of green which is easily removed/altered.


Materials: Wire
Location: Akishima, Tokyo

Curbside Garden Space in Concrete and Rocks

Garden space is created on the curb in front of a residential wall on a narrow street. The owner of the property did not want to encroach on the already scarce road space so she constructed a planter from rocks and concrete right on top of the curb. The limited volume of the created space necessitated hardy succulents (the owner noted that she had tried to grow other flowers but they didn’t work out). She was so confident of their hardiness that she picked a few off and offered them to me to take home. Fantastic!
When quizzed about the origins of the design, she confessed that she hadn’t seen the idea anywhere else – it just ‘popped’ into her head as a suitable solution.

Materials: Concrete, Rocks
Location: Akishima, Tokyo

Curbside Planters

Scarce curbside space is increased just enough to accomodate pot plants along a residential wall.

Materials: Wood
Location: Akishima, Tokyo.

Broom Storage in Twine and Wire

Brooms are hung from a construction of wire and plastic twine.

Materials: Wire, Plastic Twine
Location: Akishima, Tokyo

Planter in Bricks

Bricks used as planters on curb outside house.
Materials: Bricks
Location: Akishima, Tokyo

Pot Plant Shelf in Rods and String

Pot plant shelf constructed on the exterior of block wall with plastic rods. Pots secured with string and plastic grill.
Materials: Plastic Stake, String, Plastic Grill
Location: Akishima, Tokyo

Green Wall in Pots and Planters

Green wall constructed from planters, breeze blocks and netting.
Materials: Planter, Breeze Block, Netting
Location: Akishima, Tokyo

Mega-Cities: Design Anthropology and Urban Landscapes
I'm delighted and honoured to have my FIXES work included in Jared Braiterman's Tokyo University graduate seminar on mega-cities.
You can download the syllabus [HERE]

Thanks to the URBAN DESIGN Lab 西村・北沢・窪田 都市デザイン研究室, Department of Urban Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo for making this a featured resource of their lab [LINK]

Vision Plus 2010
Thanks to the organizers of the conference for selecting this project as a featured resource, even though I was not able to attend.

Article: Small Places of Anarchy in the City: Three Investigations in Tokyo on This Big City

Article: The Non-Intentional Landscape of Tokyo - read at This Big City

Article: Framework for Neighbourhood Creative Climate - read at This Big City

Tokyo Green Space from Jared Braiterman is a great inspiration [LINK]

Urban Bricolage by @ehooge is an inspiring site on a related theme [LINK]

Treepolis by Christoph Rupprecht inspires me with investigations into informal green space, cities, and urban ecology with a focus on Australia and Japan [LINK]

Everyday Structures by @alanwiig is another fine site in the same vein [LINK]