Green space in Tokyo takes many forms, from light wrapped street trees in Downtown Shinjuku, to manicured curb-side gardens. Highly pruned specimen trees sit within viewing distance of improvised, highly personal, and often 'wild' pot collection gardens (which I see as the equivalent of a front garden). There are many beautiful public parks, reflected green space and utility green space with solar panels, bike parking and well the odd concrete 'green' space. Hanging window views of green space and suburban gardens that are not so different from Australia.
So why did I come to Tokyo? Well I have watched for over a decade the development of housing on the Gold Coast; with new town centres turning what was once farmland and bushland into medium and high density housing suburbs. Brisbane and Gold Coast City are growing regions, evolving into more densely populated and built environments. Where does green space fit within this development and how does our relationship with green space change as the environment around us evolves? We understand the importance of green space - for biodiversity, for clean water, to combat heat and air pollution, to make our cities liveable and contribute to our sense of well-being.
Exploring green space in Tokyo and researching the '10 Year Project for Green Tokyo', is in a way, taking a view of a possible future. Youkobo Art Space, where I am currently in residence, sits within Suginami City, one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo. It has a very similar population to Gold Coast city with around 565,000 residents. The difference is scale and density - Suginami City occupies 34.06 km square, while Gold Coast City occupies 414.3 km square.
I already realise that coming back to the Gold Coast will be like seeing it afresh - perhaps seeing it in a real way, one less familiar. This residency at Youkobo Art Space gives me fresh eyes, not only here in Tokyo, but also back home.
The Regional Arts Development Fund is a partnership between the Queensland Government and the City of Gold Coast Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.