Types of Districts and Zones
City Planning Areas
The city planning area is the bounds of an area subject to city planning, which is to be designated first in the establishment of a city plan. This is an area in which urban facilities are placed according to the state of urban development, which includes a range of areas in which smooth urban activities are carried out, and in which society, economy and traffic are, and will be, organically integrated.
Master Plan for City Planning Areas, and Districts and Zones
The Master Plan for City Planning Areas specifies “goals of the city plan,” “decision status and policy of area classification,” and the “policy for major city planning decision,” thereby providing a basis for setting individual city plans and realizing the future urban vision that we should aim for.
Also, along with the Master Plan for City Planning Areas, the Districts and Zones provide a basis for land use plans to induce an image of desirable urban areas based on the past trends and future prospects of land use, thereby aiming to ensure comfortable urban environments and rational urban structures.
In addition, the “area classification” and “policy for urban redevelopment ” that were previously specified as part of the former “policy for improvement, development or preservation of urbanization promotion areas and urbanization control areas” are currently set forth as independent city plans.
(1) Master Plan for City Planning Areas (Policy for Improvement, Development, and Preservation of City Planning Areas)
The revised Acts of 2000 entitled prefectures to decide on policies for improvement, development, and preservation of all city planning areas. The Master Plan for City Planning Areas made by prefectures. This plan defines the future vision of the city from a long-term perspective and the path to follow to make that vision a reality. Individual city plans such as those for use districts, city-planned roads and urban redevelopment projects is required to be set up in accordance with the Master Plan for City Planning Areas or city redevelopment policy.
(2) Area Classification (Classification between Urbanization Promotion Areas and Urbanization Control Areas)
The division between urbanization promotion areas and urbanization control areas is intended to prevent unregulated urbanization by classifying the city planning areas into those that are to be systematically developed as urban areas and those that are to be controlled urbanization for the time being in view of the development trends in the city planning areas.
Urbanization promotion areas shall be those areas where urban areas have already formed and those areas where urbanization should be implemented preferentially and in a well-planned manner within approximately the next 10 years, while urbanization control areas are those where urbanization should in principle be controlled and thus development activities (e.g. residential land development) are in principle prohibited.
Districts and Zones
The Districts and Zones is a zoning system that is intended to ensure reasonable land use by classifying land within city planning areas (according to the purposes of use) and imposing certain restrictions on buildings and structures. The Districts and Zones are divided into use districts, special use districts that complement use districts and other districts and zones. Use Districts are intended to control usage, building coverage, floor area ratio (hereinafter “FAR”), and height of buildings. Use Districts are required to be designated for urbanization promotion areas among “urbanization promotion areas and urbanization control areas” that were newly stipulated in the revised City Planning Act of 1968.
Although there used to be four types of Use Districts, the revised Act of 1968 set out eight types by adding neighborhood commercial zones, special industrial zones and two types of exclusive residential zones.
Moreover, the revised City Planning Act of June 1992 has further divided residential use districts and thus increased the number of types of use districts from eight to twelve. A special use district is a district that is to be designated to complement existing designated use districts to ensure realization of special purposes (such as promotion of land use in a way suitable to the characteristics of given districts and environmental protection). There were originally three types of special use districts: special industrial zones, educational zones and retail store zones. The number was later expanded to eight (i.e. office zones, welfare zones, entertainment and recreation zones, sightseeing districts and special business zones added) in the revised Act of June 1968 and then to 11 (mid and upper levels floor exclusive residential zones, exclusive commercial zones and research and development zones were added) in the revised Act of June 1992. Afterwards, the Act was partially revised in May 1998, which abolished the special use district system that were previously limited to 11 types, and removed the constraints of type-bound designation to promote town building according to local characteristics and circumstances.
In June 1997, the City Planning Act and the Building Standards Act were partially revised; the “high-rise residential attraction zones” were established as new districts and zones. Exceptional FAR districts are those that have appropriately located and sized public facilities and determined on the purpose of utilizing unused floor areas (e.g. historic buildings) by relocating them to other lots. In June 2005, the enforcement of the Act for Partial Revision of the City Planning Act enabled designation of exceptional FAR districts also in other use districts, except Categories 1 and 2 low-rise exclusive residential districts and exclusive industrial districts, instead of exceptional FAR districts, the designation of which had been allowed only within commercial districts. In order to promote reasonable land use according to the characteristics of the given districts, the Act of 2005 also allowed designation of “special use restriction districts” within the area with no use districts designated (except an urbanization control area), in which use districts are not designated, in city planning areas or quasi-city planning areas.
In June 2003, the Partial Revision of the City Planning Act and the Act on Promotion of Improvement of Disaster Control Districts in Populated Urban Districts established specified disaster prevention block improvement zones in order to ensure specified disaster prevention functions (those to be ensured to prevent the spread of fire and secure evacuation in case of a fire or earthquake) and to ensure the reasonable and sound use of land in populated urban districts.
Types of Districts and Zones
Types of districts and zones
The types and details of currently designated districts and zones are as follows.
Districts and zones by morphological structure
Fire prevention districts
Height control districts
Other districts and zones
※These zones are designated as district-based green spaces, although not under Article 8 of the City Planning Act.
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