Due to the world’s highest life expectancy and lowest fertility rate, nearly one quarter of Japan’s population is currently over the age of 65. Japan’s population is shrinking and becoming more elderly. By 2100, Tokyo’s population is forecast to drop from thirteen million to seven million people. At that time, Tokyo’s population over 65 is expected to equal the “working age population” of those between the ages of 15 to 64, a radical shift in the proportion of those engaged in labor. This signifies a fundamental transformation in not only social and economic structures, but also urban form and architectural typologies of housing.
In the summer of 2017, Columbia University GSAPP faculty and students, in collaboration with Waseda University, participated in a two-week workshop in Tokyo. The workshop investigated the future of Tokyo based on shifting demographics and longer human lifespans. The workshop observed how aging currently impacts the city and its periphery, and identified broader trends and issues. The workshop has focused primarily on architectural issues of housing, but has also touched upon broader issues such as policy, mobility, and the urbanism of aging.