Struggling Cities: From Japanese Urban Projects in the 1960s

This startling new exhibition at the Japan Foundation in Toronto runs from August 19, 2011 to December 9, 2011. In the mid-20th century, only 25% of the world’s population lived in cities, and in 50 years, this figure has risen to 50%. Although it took 5,000 years for the urban population to reach 25%, the rapidity of this doubling shows just how radically the urban population grew in the later 20th century.

The rapid urbanization caused drastic changes to cities and forced governments and city authorities to adapt to new conditions. However, modern urban planning has been less effective in large-scale cities because of the difficulty in maintaining organic consistency while overcoming urban problems caused by modernization. Megacities are at the forefront of this problem.

In the 1960s, Tokyo became a megacity. Various experimental ideas to renovate the city flourished from architects hoping to find a way out of critical problems caused by modernization. The representative examples of these ambitious urban plans were suggested by Kenzo Tange, the Metabolist Group, and Arata Isozaki.

Through a combination of diverse media – from architectural scale models to photographs, along with animations and other audio-visuals – this exhibition examines various circumstances of cities in Japan and elsewhere up to the present day, and identifies the distinctive aspects of those circumstances as they are manifested in present-day Tokyo.

For more information and for gallery hours, please visit or call 416.966.1600 x229. Admission to the exhibition is free. The Japan Foundation is located at 131 Bloor Street West on the second floor of the Colonnade Building.