Urban suburbia: Gentrification and spatial inequality in workers' communities in Tokyo

Tetsu Kidokoro, Kojiro Sho, Ryo Fukuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Spatial inequality in Asian megacities has recently accelerated against the formation of a hybrid development-state-neoliberalism policy and the existing unique characteristics of the built environment, i.e., the coexistence of and conflicts between planned and self-shaped urban areas. This study attempts to examine the process of gentrification and spatial inequality in urban areas in Tokyo, where large-scale urban regeneration projects were promoted through the relaxation of urban planning regulations under neoliberal urban policies. First, we surveyed how the transformation of urban development policies promoted gentrification in Tokyo. Second, we conducted a statistical analysis of the unique characteristics of spatial inequality in Tokyo. Finally, we conducted a detailed case study of the gentrification process in a workers' community where large-scale urban redevelopment projects had been implemented. We conclude that spatial inequality has widened in Tokyo because of government-led gentrification since the 2000s. Particularly, gentrification rapidly increased in the eastern areas of Tokyo, developed historically as workers' communities, and spatial inequality at the local level widened. Furthermore, local characteristics were rapidly transformed by the loss of urban industries. Instead, with government-led urban regeneration, a new urban nexus so called ‘urban suburbia’ comprising elements such as high-quality condominiums, shopping malls, and franchise shops emerged.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104247
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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