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Fwd: Tokyo city tries to green

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  • Malika
    Speaking of urban green - here s a city government that does try: (though not specifically for providing food) ... ===8
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 28, 2004
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      Speaking of urban green - here's a city government that does try:
      (though not specifically for providing food)


      > Sweltering Tokyo tries to go green
      >
      > Justin McCurry in Tokyo
      > Saturday July 24, 2004
      > The Guardian <http://www.guardian.co.uk>
      >
      > Cast your gaze in the right direction and you could be standing in the
      > middle of a rice paddy or a rose garden. But glance upwards and the idyll
      > is shattered. This is not a horticultural show, but a tiny oasis of
      > verdant calm in central Tokyo.
      > In a country where the cement never sets, high-rise building developments
      > are turning Tokyo into a mass of overheating concrete. The buildings - and
      > the hot air spewed out by the air conditioners used to cool them - are
      > exposing Tokyo's millions of gasping citizens to ever higher temperatures.
      > The city centre, according to meteorological data, has never been hotter.
      > On Tuesday, the temperature soared to a record 39.5C (103F), sending 48
      > people to hospital with heatstroke.
      > Even the prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, admitted the weather had left
      > him hot under the collar. "I am not a fan of air conditioners, but I'm
      > finding it difficult to sleep without one at the moment," he said in his
      > weekly email bulletin.
      > The heatwave is expected to continue until the end of the month, with the
      > temperature hovering around 31C, well above the July average of just over
      > 25C.
      > Demand for power has shot up to record levels as Tokyoites turn up the air
      > conditioning. Next month, they will be asked to douse the streets with
      > water.
      > But that will bring only temporary respite. The Tokyo government believes
      > the long-term solution is to cover the buildings with trees, plants and
      > grass. Under regulations passed two years ago, greenery must cover at
      > least 20% of every new, large private building and 30% of all public
      > buildings.
      > Trees and plants apparently stop some of the heat from penetrating the
      > buildings below and absorb air pollutants.
      > More than 39 hectares (97 acres) of new gardens have been added in the
      > past two years, according to officials, but the fine for disobeying the
      > regulations is just 200,000 yen (£992), much less than the cost of
      > installing a garden worth showing off.
      > "The greening of the 23 wards of Tokyo is not proceeding too well," Masami
      > Tokyofuku, a metropolitan official, said. "There is very limited space for
      > other types of greenery, particularly in Tokyo, which is why we are
      > focusing on rooftops."
      > Officials say the initiative needs time, and have set a target of 1,200
      > hectares by 2015. They say the effects of filling rooftops with trees and
      > shrubs are known, but have yet to be quantified.
      > The greening of Tokyo's most fashionable corporate rooftops has brought
      > dividends to their owners, some of whom charge the public for snatching a
      > few minutes in the shade of a tree.
      > One of the best examples is the 1,300 square metre garden at the trendy
      > Roppongi Hills business and entertainment complex. As killifish swim in
      > the pond and rice plants sway in the breeze, it is hard to believe the
      > garden was built directly above a multiplex cinema - except that it is
      > still very, very hot.
      > http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1268066,00.html
      >


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