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Policies of Systems of Urban Centers and Case Studies in New York, London, and Tokyo

Sun-Wung Kim · Jae-Seob Yang · Hee-Jin Kim · Su-Youn Seong


The present study aims to identify changes in the urban conditions, strategies of spatial development, and promotion of urban centers in association with deducting the implications to the urban center policies of Seoul. The implications to Seoul can be derived as strategies related to the metropolitan transportation system and revitalization of urban centers, methods to promote urban centers, and policies of public and private partnership, by conducting case studies on the existing special urban centers of each city. The policies studied were related to the system of urban centers in New York, London, and Tokyo. The centers published their own urban master plans such as OneNYC(2015), London Plan(2016), and First Tokyo(2016) and Interim Version of Grand Design(2017). In New York, overall seven urban centers were selected like 1 or 2 centers of each of 5 boroughs. New York positions importance on the balanced growth of its boroughs. However, London’s case seems to be similar to the system of urban centers of Seoul. London has 5 development axes in the metropolitan area and CAZ and 4 hierarchical systems of urban centers like international, metropolitan, major, and district centers accounting for 200 urban centers. Japan has a major center, 7 sub-centers, and 3 new centers. Japan calls these urban centers as core nodal point and escapes existing policies on urban centers. The centers are not limited to business functions but focus on regional original functions such as culture and history and their potentials. In the present work, case studies are also conducted with a focus on two urban centers of each city such as New York, London, and Tokyo. The centers were Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City in New York, King’s Cross and Stratford in London, and Daimaruyu of the Major Urban center and Shinagawa in Japan. The analyses were conducted with respect to four aspects such as a mixed development of functions introduced towards activating the urban centers, the connection between urban centers and metropolitan transportation network, various promotional policies considering regional characteristics and potential, and public-private participation from planning to management. The present study concludes that the studied cities activated the urban centers by connecting several other metropolitan centers, other cities, and air ports by major transportation network. Secondly, all the urban centers continuously encourage mixed development with business, retail, culture, arts, and even housing. Thirdly, all the cities we studied have many tools to promote the activation of urban centers. For example, Tokyo has various tools in several cases for urban redevelopment by transferring floor-area ratio and uses, and by applying sequential developments in several different lots, and three-dimensional development of urban planning system in the related urban law. Furthermore, Tokyo is supported by many systems of the comprehensive-design area, height-use districts, special block area, urban redevelopment promotion districts, urban regeneration special districts, and national strategic special districts. Therefore, firstly, a mixed development with housing and cultural functions should be allowed to the business and commercial districts. Secondly, it is recommended that major urban centers in Seoul should be well connected by metropolitan rapid transits. Thirdly, Seoul should have the appropriate tools of urban developments in its planning-related laws. Finally, private institutes should be encouraged to play an important role by cooperating in various developmental processes with public.



01 Introduction

1_Background and Purpose of the Study

2_Scope and Method of the Study

3_Contents of the Study


02 A System of Urban Centers and Major Issues in Seoul

1_The Direction of Urban Spatial Structure in 2030 Seoul Plan

2_Trends of Promoting Plans toward Urban Centers

3_Major Status and Tasks Related to Urban Centers


03 Systems of Urban Centers and the Directions in the World Cities

1_New York





04 Case Studies among Urban Centers in the World Cities

1_Major Meanings of the Case Studies

2_Mixed-Use Development of Various Functions in Centers

3_Strengthening the Accessibility by Metropolitan Transport System

4_Development Methods according to the Regional Characteristics

5_Active Participation and Investment of a Private Institute


05 Policy Directions toward Bringing up Urban Centers in Seoul

1_Directions toward Bringing up the Centers

2_Strategies toward Bringing up the Centers