BRI Research Paper


The Consideration of Use Values and Prices of City Space in Japan.

K.Hayakawa; March, 1977. 18p.


The land price in the cities of this country has been rising more and more violently and is now about to reach a high price level which has never been experienced. The rate of land price rises in the six largest cities of 1975 as referred to that of the 1955 is 51.7, and this is very large in comparison to the rate of rises of wholesale prices of 1.8. For instance, in Tokyo, even such a phenomenon is seen that land is traded at prices on the order of \300 x 104/m2.

As is well known, this rise of land prices is blamed as "the source of various evils" and has resulted in many contradictions. Especially, it has impeded land acquisition for construction of houses, living welfare facilities, etc. and made city space much more distorted. Obviously, by the high land price, the quality of city as living space has been degraded and distorted.

Now, the land price is, needless to say, its price as a commodity. On the other hand, the land prices are formed on the basis of rents and rents have an aspect reflecting the use value of land. If this is so, what substance of the use value of city space does represent the high land price in the large cities of this country at the present time? This is an important factor hindering bettering of the city space as living space. This paper is intended to study use values of modern city space in relation to the land prices as its economical reflection. First, the special characters of use values of city space and the process of formation will be discussed. Second, the relation of the high land price and space use value in the large cities at the present time, and the movement of space utilization governed by the high land price, will be considered. Finally, various aspects in which this land price does not necessarily represent the use value of city space and contradictions are involved in between, will be described, together with some basic considerations on the relation between both.

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