Field Tour & Design Workshop: Visualizing Ecosystem Services and Development of Green Infrastructure

The Field tour and design workshop in Futako-Tamagawa “Visualizing Ecosystem Services and Development of Green Infrastructure” was held on January 27, 2019. Various stakeholders from the area, including university faculty, residents, companies, and NPOs gathered. We observed the state of the area from the viewpoint of ecosystem services, and discussed the present situation and possible futures in the design workshop.

The M-NEX Project Japanese team is conducting research on three cities in the metropolitan area as a case study. In Futako-Tamagawa, one of the research sites, we focus on food, water and energy nexus with respect to the ecosystem services remaining in urban areas. In this year, the first year of the project, we have been exploring the current state of ecosystem services. In addition, we set up a project called “Project for visualizing ecosystem services in Futako-Tamagawa” with researchers from Tokyo City University. To begin this effort we held a workshop to confirm results so far and to incorporate the opinion of residents.

To begin the workshop a field tour was conducted by Shuichi Nakanishi, representative of a local NPO. We walked along the Tamagawa riverbed, and visited urban farmland and green spaces in the area. In the Tamagawa riverbed, we learned that there is a spawning ground and popular fishing spot for sweetfish, which is also sold in nearby restaurants. Additionally we learned that former restaurants located close to the river were replaced with housing, causing a problem with the flooding hazard planning for the area. Placing restaurants in the flooding zone was relatively acceptable but housing is not suited to the site. To resolve the problem a new embankment will be built, bringing not only financial costs but disruption to the current environment.

Participants were explained about Futako-Tamagawa

Though it is disappearing, urban farmland can be found throughout the area, generally scattered without any particular logic. The southern part of Futako-Tamagawa is a kind of wetland of the Tama River and was previously used for rice paddies, but gradually became urbanized. Some farms remain after that process. In Kosaka park, we observed a secondary forest and spring, leaving the satoyama landscape. The Kokubunji cliff passes through the center of Futako-Tamagawa district, dividing the plateau with the lowland around the river. The cliff is a place where green spaces are still present in urban areas, and Kosaka Park is connected to this pattern. The sloping site is a natural location for seating and accommodates concerts among the tress. We observed and experienced several ecosystem services on the tours and noted that participants were well engaged.

We got a box lunch by Yuka Murakami who provides catering service sticking to the ingredients in the Futako-Tamagawa, and experienced local vegetables. Participants seemed satisfied with the taste and regional food experience.

The box lunch by Yuka Murakami

In the afternoon, a lecture was held by Shigehiro Yokota, professor of Tokyo City University. He explained about the ecosystem services and green infrastructure and explained the progress of biodiversity and rainwater management by citizen scientists and other local efforts.

After the lecture, a workshop was held by Wanglin Yan, professor of Keio University. Participants shared what they saw and experience on the field tour, then described problems, and finally they created a design plan. They found ecosystem services are divided, a problem that is undesirable from the viewpoint of landscape and biodiversity. Finally, they considered ways to connect existing green areas and rivers and to enjoy ecosystem services throughout the area.

Ex. 1) “ECONECT”, which is including the regional food circulation, the relocation of parking lots, the development of an ecological network, the enhancement of ecosystem services centered on water circulation, the implementation of concerts in green areas, the improvement of economy and human life such as connected road, maintenance of cherry blossoming cityscape.

Ex. 2) “A biodiversity corridor” was suggested as a way to connect the area. The group suggested the appearance of individual green spaces is the result of tradeoffs between maintenance of past ecosystems and human life, and in the future it is important to work instead from synergy. As a specific proposal, the utilization as a corridor of the Yatogawa River which connects Kinuta Park, Okamoto Park, and Tamagawa River.

Presentation by a participant.

The design proposal in the workshop shows what local people feel and what they expect. In subsequent research projects, we will study the proposal from a professional point of view and utilize it to overlook the regional ecosystem services.

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慶應義塾大学環境情報学部 EcoGIS Lab(厳網林研究室)