THIS IS AN ABSTRACT OF
OUR RESEARCH WORK
CURRENTLY UNDERGOING AT
A BRIEF OVERVIEW ON RECENT URBAN HOUSING IN JAPAN
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The industrialization process for most of the world’s countries has often been associated with the increase of population concentration around the industrial poles and the deep changes in family composition and internal relationship. The birth of a metropolitan way of living in the 18th and 19th centuries and the modern standard household - the nuclear family - replaced a former way of production based mostly on the extended family labor. But this privatization of the family unit has been followed by its desintegration in the second half of our century, just as mechanization has been followed by the use of information. Instead of an Industrial society, in which we transport people to the places of information, in the rising Post-Industrial society we will carry information and ideas to where people are. The population movement from the big cities of the world to smaller communities has already begun, but a so-called metropolitan way of living is also spreading out via the mass media. New kinds of households appear: monoparental families, DINKS couples - Double Income No Kids -, unmarried couples - including homossexual ones -, loosely organized group homes, and new nuclear families with an increasing participation of women in the labor market. These are all steps towards a new social pattern: individuals living alone. However, the living space design for this changing population is still strongly influenced by the standards proposed by the European Modern Movement from between the two World Wars. The ‘a-house-for-all’ Modern archetype for the nuclear family has been reproduced ad infinitum all over the world during our century until today with little local variation.
To study the evolution of the ways of living in the so-called Post-Industrial era we have choosen three metropolises in three different continents that have different historical and cultural backgrounds, but whose current tendencies of changes in their population profile, as well as their way of living seem to be strongly similar: Paris, in France, São Paulo, in Brazil, and Tokyo, in Japan. In order to compare the historical development of their domestic spaces, our cronological starting point, roughly in the first half of the 19th century, is the arrival of the effects of the English Industrial Revolution in these areas: the beginning of French industrialization for Paris, the establishment of a Coffee Economy for São Paulo, the end of the Edo Period and the Meiji Restoration for Tokyo. A comparative study of these developments would show an increasing homogeneization of the life styles in these areas, mainly after the Second World War, when the role of mass media became stronger in everyday life, and the so-called Information Revolution has effectively begun.
The main goal of this work is to sketch some concepts which would be able to assist the process of rethinking today’s living space design, using these three metropolitan areas. In addition, it is our desire that its results can contribute to the discussion about domestic space design, even for the next century.
Finally, architects have been interviewed in these regions who are addressing questions like “How can each part of the contemporary house be redesigned?” or “What new levels of Architectural expression are available to the new metropolitan ways of thinking and living?