The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Home > Education > Interesting Lectures and Seminars


Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Theme Study: Urban/Regional Research

University students become a support group for the development of Totsuka neighborhood. "Considering Urban Redevelopment"

Mr. Himan Jo
3rd year student at the School of International Liberal Studies

Have you every carefully observed the neighborhood where you live? In this course, we consider the development of Totsuka, an area located around Waseda University and Takadanobaba Station. In particular, we perform activities to make the most of flowers and greenery on the throughout the neighborhood. These activities present a valuable opportunity to study urban development through a partnership between the university and the region, while at the same time deepening the exchange with members of the community.

Our group, called the "Totsuka Neighborhood Support Group", is involved in the promotion of the "Flower and Greenery Landscape Contest" sponsored by the Urban Development Committee of the Totsuka Regional Group. The Flower and Greenery Landscape Contest was planned through the cooperation of Prof. Souda, members of the community, and the local government. The contest is a system to introduce and support the seasonal flowers and greenery that bloom in gardens and lawns, either by self-application or recommending others for application. University students are also able to participate. Of course, permission from the home owner is a required condition when recommending others for application.

Students enrolled in this course received permission from community members and used cameras to photograph the gardens of many different homes. We also carefully gathered episodes related to growing flowers and greenery. One particular house had roses which were blooming vibrantly. The roses and the white walls of the home created a perfect harmony, and the home had become a famous landscape within the community. This home, which won an award in the Flower and Greenery Landscape Contest, is owned by an 80 year old person who is extremely energetic for their age. The person gave us a wealth of episodes in a very short interview.

During these activities, I was particularly impressed by the sight of community members communicating with each other voluntarily through the topic of flowers and greenery in the neighborhood. I was able to implement urban development while studying in the School of International Liberal Studies. Also, based upon my actual experiences, I was able to summarize my opinion regarding what constitutes urban development. I realized that urban development is the creation of opportunities for community members to come together as a group. I also learned that when given such opportunities, community members become more attached to their neighborhood and reconfirm their own identities. This kind of theme study can be taken by students from 1st and 2nd years without relation to their major. I believe that these theme studies are a valuable opportunity to acquire a interscholastic and comprehensive perspective.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)