Designing Autonomous Communities in Suburbs of Japan
In Japan, the suburbs face issues of depopulation, loss of culture, identical and interchangeable scenery due to the prevalence of chain stores and weak relationships between members of the community, contrast to the heavy concentration of populations in major cities. In tackling these issues, the conventional approach of community revitalisation leans heavily on economic, technological and administrative measures. This study proposes a new paradigm to address community autonomy of suburbs in order to accommodate contemporary values and lifestyles.
The proposed paradigm is based on the concept of the apron diagram developed by Arne Naess in deep ecology, one of the theories of environmental ethics. The diagram induces a paradigm shift in the way of thinking where individuals with different fundamental philosophies can share the principle and take diverse action for community autonomy. Also, the concept of Self-realisation proposed in deep ecology is applied to the premise of community governance. Self-realisation is the extension of the individual self to the larger Self and encompasses the essence of community autonomy.
This theoretical approach is supported by an interview survey conducted by the authors in Itoshima City, Fukuoka. The survey observed Self-realisation in the voluntary actions of community members.
Keywords: community autonomy, deep ecology, apron diagram, Self-realisation, suburb