What Germany and Japan can learn from each other when it comes to urban modernization More or less useful helpers Buildings and wind power Read the article in c’t 20/2023
With a population of almost 40 million, Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the world. In an area almost the size of Schleswig-Holstein, half as many people live here as in all of Germany. In Berlin there are already 4,200 inhabitants per square kilometer, in Tokyo there are more than 15,000. Space is tight, the apartments are small.
So much proximity would certainly lead to social unrest in this country. But the Japanese deal with it surprisingly well and are very considerate of one another in public spaces. There are no crowds on the subway, everyone queues up. Machines check the passengers’ rechargeable RFID cards as they enter and leave the stations. Signs advise not to disturb others with loud conversations. Constantly staring at the smartphone display is also considered impolite. Many prefer to read small books – paper is still a high cultural asset in Japan. Even on crowded squares and platforms, there is an amazing calm. E-scooters are not (yet) part of the street scene. Only since July has the government allowed them to be driven without a license.
There’s no need to be afraid of pickpocketing here: “If you forget your mobile phone on the train, 90 percent of the time someone will bring it after you or the train employees will find it for you,” explains Niels Meinke, who lived in Tokyo for five years. He works at Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCo), one of Japan’s largest electronics groups. From air conditioning to elevators to Mars probes, the company manufactures almost everything – in Germany it would be most comparable to Siemens. The group invited us to see some systems under development, from autonomous vehicles to robots to energy-saving houses. Against the background of the Taiwan crisis and the German government’s renewed rapprochement with its “value partner” in the Pacific region, the Japanese are also looking for closer contact with Germany in order to exchange ideas in economic and technical fields.
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