Section = 006_004

“ abandon the concept of the ideal all together. That’s what urban planning in the twenty-first century is going to be about.” (Ohno, in Maki, 2000a:36)

The non-intentional landscape of Tokyo illustrates P2P network qualities, and exhibits large enough mass to counterbalance the groupthink of commercial landscaping projects (see e.g. Salingaros, 2010a, Section 3). The emergent patterns are evolutions of the collective action of many individuals over many generations (see e.g. Salingaros, 2010a, Section 5). The components of the humane, fine grained hand-built city are individuals, not the unthinking mass that is the ideal of consumerist society (see e.g. Salingaros, 2010a, Section 8)

Once thus comprehended, Tokyo’s non-intentional landscape has the appearance of purposefulness in a system which is not purposefully constructed simply because purposeless is in its very nature transitory[1],[2] – a ‘let it be’[3] attitude that makes legible the manifold influences that transform the landscape (economic, political, dreams and desires, geographic and climate) in a smooth[4] (Kira, 2000b:11) conjunctium. Like the form of the ancient city the coherent non-intentional landscape of modern Tokyo comprises multiple levels of order[5] arising from markedly distinct lifestyles[6] – dense, multilayered units whose scale grows more refined and human as it moves closer to the daily lives of the people of the city (Jinnai, 1995: 122). These deviations from the geodetic city plan are not failures or irrational expressions but rather represent emergent patterns of order that are the result of many different traits operating in the system at once (Reiser and Umemoto, 2006:140 discussing essentialized systems vs. systems with singularlities). Here diverse structural types operate locally within the same structure while maintaining systemic coherence[7] and originating self repair throughout[8] – reinvigorating the diversity of ways of life for the various city districts (Jinnai, 1995:122). In this view Tokyo displays the fullness of the city as a field of ubiquitous difference[9] – “it has a recognizable shape, but is constantly changing. Like the flame of a candle, it appears to be unchanging, but what was there at one moment is not the same as an hour later.[10] (Ashihara, 1989:19) – Time dissolves. Sequence exists. Rhythm exists. But not time. The tick, tick, tick of identical seconds, identical people, identical chores dissipates. In biophilic environments no two occurrences are ever the same, and so routine disappears and time becomes meaningless (Zerzan, 2008b:54).

Here, perhaps, quantity becomes quality, and at the scale of the city resistance/ creation ceases to be passive and becomes a force of positive change (Marcuse, 1965[11]) – an organic totality, but one that does not lose the individuality so essential to diversity and creativity (Bookchin, 1974:123). In this way the city is redeemed by regular interaction with the country (Yokoi Tokiyoshi discussed in Smith, 1978:58), but from deep within.

[1] Wiener (1954:38) referring to Ashby’s machine; see also Mandelbrot Fractal Geometry of Nature and the idea that the seeming chaos of nature embraces a flexible, orderly structure (discussed in Ashihara, 1989:19).

[2] “The changing shapes are the result of recognizing the potential for latent shapes where there is no apparent shape.” (Ashihara, 1989:53 discussing The Ambiguity of Outline).

[3] Verbeek (2005). Heidegger.

[4] Smooth and connect?

[5] It is important to understand the unintended user’s contributions to urban order because this is a potentially revolutionary aspect of the city’s structure. The general organization of urban life must develop more sensitivity to the arbitrariness of human use for the city as an object, or that arbitrariness will coalesce into revolt. These lifestyles must be given breathing space (Glean Chase discussing urban cavemanship in Wilsher and Righter, 1975:98-99).

[6] Born of Edo period partitioning (Jinnai, 1995:122).

[7] …an invisible order, a random-switch mechanism through which each level of the whole structure tolerates some haphazardness so as to respond to changes in the environment – rather like the action of genes in the development of a multicellular organism – then we begin to see an order in the city structure (Ashihara, 1989:64 discussing Mandelbrot’s notion of a flexible orderly structure embracing randomness).

[8] Reiser and Umemoto (2006:157) discussing systems becoming other systems; see also Salingaros (2010b); Salingaros et al. (2010); Wiener (1954); Ashihara (1989 e.g.58, 64)

[9] Reiser and Umemoto (2006:157) discussing systems becoming other systems.

[10] “This garden that I have before my eyes appears differently to me now from a moment ago. I have understood the rhythms: trees, flowers, birds and insects. They form a polyrhythmia with the surroundings: the simultaneity of the present (therefore of presence), the apparent immobility that contains one thousand and one movements…. You thus perceive that each plant, each tree, has its rhythm, made up of several: the trees, the flowers, the seeds and fruits, each have their time. The plum tree? The flowers were born in the spring, before the leaves, the tree was white before turning green. But on this cherry tree, on the other hand, there are flowers that opened before the leaves, which will survive the fruits and fall late in the autumn and not all at once. Continue and you will see this garden polyrythmically, or if you prefer symphonically.” (Lefebvre, 2004:17, 31)

[11] Discussing India and also the General Strike.