How Tokyo built its way to abundant housing

James Gleeson

Tokyo has rightly been getting some plaudits for housebuilding of late, and this post brings together some stats that illustrate just how impressive its record is.

First, some definitions and context. The statistics in this post are all for the Tokyo Metropolis area, also known as Tokyo Prefecture, with a population of around 13.5 million as of 2015. This is just part of the Greater Tokyo urban area, which holds around 37.8 million people, but for the purpose of this post when I say ‘Tokyo’ I mean the Metropolis/Prefecture.

The data in this post come from three online collections: the Tokyo Statistical Yearbook, the Japan Housing and Land Survey tables and Historical Statistics of Japan. As data sources these are all the more useful for being extremely old-fashioned: data is presented in tables using the same variable names and layouts going back decades, arranged on sites that for…

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