How the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games were embedded in urban planning documents: The enforcement of a metropolitan strategy in the Bay Area

Alexandre Faure (FFJ-EHESS) – January 2023


This study examines the coherence between the Tokyo Olympic urban project, the national urban planning strategies, and the metropolitan and sub-metropolitan policies. The objective is to understand how the wards are integrated in the definition and design of the Olympic project by questioning the available urban planning tools. This paper shows that the Olympic project is fundamentally top-down and does not take into account the objectives of the wards, while it also seeks to finalize urban strategies decided at the national level from the 1980s. The paper examines 25 strategic documents and urban planning documents in English and Japanese in order to trace the evolution of urban planning choices. The result of the study confirms that it is important for the Olympic movement to reform the preparatory phase of the event, in particular by lengthening the period between the election of the host city and the delivery of the Games, while including more strongly all the public actors and not only the institution signing the host city contract.

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