Staying in Public Places: A Case Study in Ueno Park, Tokyo

By Glen Wash.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

We could all agree that while every piece of architecture or human-made landscape is necessarily located on a place, that very same intervention creates a new place. Therefore the city itself could be analysed as a system of places. The concept of place embodies a great complexity that does not resist much abstraction applied to it, yet represents one of the most intimate relationships between man and space. Because each observer will experience the same place in their own unique way, the concept of place a particularly difficult one to work with in concrete, objective terms. This research states that regardless of the many meanings that the concept of place may have, it has a common structure that can be perceived, measured and analysed. One of the elements of this “place structure” is the level of activity of a given place and how we use it. The study focused on the analysis of two public places within Tokyo’s Ueno Park. Using videos and on site observation, the activity in these places was recorded, mapped and latter analysed using contour graphics to generate activity-counter maps that made it possible to measure and shape the relationship between the people and the places they interacted with. The conclusions show that this interaction actually modifies and creates places, and that the obtained graphics can be used as guidelines for incorporating people’s personal spaces into a more place-oriented design process.

Keywords: Place, Placemaking, Activity Counter Maps, Parks

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.161-172. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.018MB).

Dr. Glen Wash

PhD., Akira Fujii Laboratory, Department of Architecture, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Glen Wash is a researcher in Professor Akira Fujii’s laboratory of urban morphology, at The University of Tokyo.