This from Japan Today.
I lived in Chuo for a couple of years, and it is, in fact, very sterile. It’s block after block of boxy office buildings. Some apartments. And even where there seems to be a corner with some character, I notice that it doesn’t take long for that neighborhood to be transformed, too.
That’s what happened on my block in Yaesu with the Leopalace. 2006 it looked like one place; today in 2010, totally different. (I should post some pictures sometime.)
Now is the story of two men, father and son Takahashi, who want to save the old school buildings that Chuo Ward wants to tear down and replace with modern structures. It’s a great piece, because these buildings really don’t have to come down. It’s simply that some group in the government—or more likely, pulling government strings—wants them down for the business of putting up a new building.
When my township (Bridgewater, New Jersey) wanted to close down the Green Knoll School, a Works Progress Administration project, in 1976, some people in the town said to tear it down. Even though it was only 40 years old, which seemed ancient when I was a kid–it was older than my parents. But now, not so much, of course.
The township in their rare wisdom decided to make the school into the new municipal building. If you Google about the Bridgewater Municipal Building, you’d find it. In fact, I hear they expanded the building and kept the same style as the original 1930’s construction. (There was some renovation in the back of the building during the ’50’s, and I don’t know if they took that kind-of eyesore part out.)
It would be nice to see Japan have laws to preserve buildings with historical significance, or even simply old ones that could withstand a quake. The construction lobby can probably make as much money in renovation as they can in tearing down and putting up new. After all, they are going to town on Tokyo Station in neighboring Chiyoda.