Regional Centre

5th IGES Evening Cafe

“What could Asian small-medium satellite cities learn from the Musashino Approach to Urban Governance?”

Date 22 September 2014
Venue Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand, Bangkok
Organisers Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Related Links » IGES Evening Cafe Archives
Presentation material PDF (2.4MB)

The 5th Evening Café, organised by the IGES Regional Centre, was held on Monday, 22 September 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The event drew several participants from international development organisations, Thai government agencies, NGOs, research institutes and the general public.

The topic for the Café was “TAPES: What could Asian small-medium satellite cities learn from the Musashino Approach to Urban Governance?” with esteemed speaker, Prof. Ryokichi Hirono, Professor Emeritus from Seikei University, sharing key insights on the question.

In his presentation, Prof. Hirono told participants that Musashino is a residential city in Japan located 20 kilometers from Metropolitan Tokyo with an estimated population of 140,000 people. He noted that Musashino city is ranked as the best in Japan in terms of income distribution and social public services, such as healthcare and education. In addition, the city is also a model for environmentally sustainable urban planning.

According to Prof. Hirono, these positive outcomes are attributed to the “Musashino Approach” devised by Musashino city that encourages partnership between the local community and local government. A first in citizen participation in Japan, he noted that this approach clearly demonstrates that strong support and participation from local residents – including by conducting civic education programmes and citizen-driven conferences – can significantly contribute to better, more sustainable living conditions, as well as eco-friendly environments in urban areas.

Prof. Hirono coined and used the principle of TAP4E4S (Transparency, Accountability, Policy, Participation, Partnership, Planning, Empowerment, Equity, Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Sustainability) to describe the Musashino approach to urban governance. He added that this participatory approach could be further strengthened, possibly through diversifying the members of Musashino’s resident representative council.

Prof. Hirono’s presentation was followed by a Q&A session moderated by Dr. Peter King, IGES Senior Policy Advisor. Participants engaged in a lively discussion which focused on applying the Musashino approach to Bangkok and other cities with different political arrangements, promoting greater gender equality in Japan and the rest of Asia, and addressing Japan’s aging population through immigration.


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