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In the Search of Urban Quality: 100 maps of Kuhonbutsygawa Street, Jiyugaoka

This book presents the material compiled for one of the case studies conducted within Measuring the non-Measurable – Mn’M research project. It brings together a number of maps of one particular place in Tokyo – the precinct of Jiyugaoka and, more precisely, only one of its streets, Kuhonbutsugawa Ryokudo. The focus on a small location in the largest city in the world is a message in itself. When speaking about the actual quality (of life), we need to think about a particular city, decidedly local scales, concrete experiences of environments which we regularly see, hear, touch, smell and taste – the spaces and practices which we actively live.
     The primary focus of Mn’M is the elusive notion of urban quality. We enter discussions by challenging the very idea of measurability. In this book the emphasis is not on how to measure, but how to recognise, record and communicate urban quality, especially those aspects which tend to be left out, either declared “unimportant”, “too subjective” or, simply, too hard to deal with. Urban theories presented or, rather, touched upon in this small volume, are theories of action, arising from practical experiences in thinking and doing urban design and urban research in co+labo Radović, Tokyo (an urban design and architecture laboratory at Keio University, which is the hub of Mn’M project, and its various associates), and co+labo international strategic partner, Gehl Architects, Copenhagen – with texts by Jan Gehl, Birgitte Svarre and David Sim