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FG-GlobalCityStatus02. Role of the Compact City Fukuoka

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●What is Information & Strategy Office?
In severe financial conditions, many municipalities are attempting to focus on policies for the efficient and effective financial operation. What is the necessary policy for the social and economic development? Municipalities are also expected to engage in marketing.
The ‘Information & Strategy Office’ was set up in URC (Fukuoka Asian Urban Research Center) as an advisory team serving for Fukuoka City with a mission to contribute to the economic growth of Fukuoka City.
In daily operation, it collects and analyzes data and information, consults to city bureaus and the general public, builds up policy options and recommends priorities to support Mayor’s decision making.

●”Fukuoka Growth 2014-2015 Global City Status”
we would like to introduce the data indicating the global position of Fukuoka. We hope this series will be useful to boost the presence of Fukuoka City in the global economy.

Last year, “Fukuoka Growth – Growth Potential of Fukuoka City –” provided information on the domestic growing strength and the advantages of Fukuoka City on the basis of the related data. This year, we extend to share information under the name of “Global City Status” so that Fukuoka City could enhance its international presence.
September 3, 2014

02. Role of the Compact City Fukuoka

The tendency of population concentration in urban areas has been increasing worldwide. According to the prediction by the OECD, it is expected that 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. Especially the Asian area has metropolitan areas with more than one million population. China has more than 90 metropolitan areas, which is the highest number in the world. Japan is also in the top 10 countries in the world (see figure 2-1).
Figure 2-1: Number of Metropolitan Areas with more than 1 million population
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Source: Demographia World Urban Areas (May 2014 Revision).
Note: Only top 10 countries and East Asian and Southeast Asian countries and regions are listed. Netherlands is specially listed as it has a direct flight to Fukuoka Airport.
The metropolitan areas in Asia or Southeast Asia are generally large and many of them are megacities with a population of more than ten million. It is pointed out that when population exceeds seven million, there is a possibility to accommodate inefficiency due to the agglomeration in the city*1). Compared to western countries, the difference in population between the largest city and the second largest city is big in Asian countries, and excessive concentration of population can be seen in the largest metropolitan areas. Regarding the percentage of population who live in the largest metropolitan areas, for instance, almost half of the South Korea’s population lives in the Seoul-Incheon area, and more than 20% of the population in other Asian countries also live in megacities (see figure 2-2).
Figure 2-2: Population of the 1st and the 2nd Largest City by Country/Region
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Source: Demographia World Urban Areas (May 2014 Revision).

In the future, people, commodities and investment will be concentrated in the largest city of each country and region. There is no doubt that these largest cities will be the centers of economic activity, but when the concentration exceeds the limit, there is concern that the insufficiency of the urban infrastructure can lead to the deterioration of living environment and the wealth disparity.
From now on, in the fastest-growing Asian countries, non-megacities with relatively smaller scale urban areas such as the second or the third largest cities are expected to drive economic growth by taking advantage of their characteristics and strengths.
Although Fukuoka is the fifth largest metropolitan area in Japan, its population growth rate is the highest in Japan while Japanese population has been decreasing. Therefore, the city is expected to keep growing in the future. Compared to the megacities rapidly grown in Asia, the area of Fukuoka metropolitan area is only 20% to 30% of them, which enables Fukuoka to keep its compactness like Singapore or Hong Kong. Furthermore, the population density in Fukuoka metropolitan area is less than 5,000 persons/km2 , which is smaller than other Asian major cities. The area is able to keep the moderate residential environment with a good balance between urban areas and natural surroundings (see figure 2-3).
Figure 2-3: Population Density of Fukuokoa City and Major Metropolitan Areas in Asia
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Sources: Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Population Census(2010); Metropolitan areas marked with * is from Demographia World Urban Areas (May 2014 Revision).
The concentrated city environment provides proximity of working and living with the sophisticated public transportation, which makes the city livable and easier to do business. More than 90% of the foreign residents in Fukuoka City highly value its living environment, stating that it is generally comfortable to live in the city (see figure 2-4).
Figure 2-4: Generally speaking, how do you rate livability in Fukuoka City for foreigners?
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Source: Fukuoka City. Survey for foreign citizen in Fukuoka City (2011).
The scale of Fukuoka City is nearly equal to the secondary cities of Asian countries. Fukuoka could carry out the role as the growth model of healthy local city with a good balance between economic development and environmental conservation in the Asian countries, where sustainable growth becomes the challenge in the future.
This year, Fukuoka City was appointed for the National Strategic Economic Growth Area as the “Startup City.”
Fukuoka City is expected to carry out a concentrative and strategic practice, which is difficult for a megacity to conduct due to its hugeness. Fukuoka City should develop dramatic and speedy strategies by taking advantages as a compact city. Furthermore, enhancing a function as an international business hub, Fukuoka City should not miss this opportunity to take a stable position as the successful model of compact city in Asia.
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  1. OECD Territorial Reviews “Competitive Cities in the Global Economy” (2006 []
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