難波の南蛮、戎橋の夷。

Mapping Japanese City Spaces: Niigata

I’ll start with Niigata, a former Edo port town on the cold and snowy northwest coast of Honshu facing North Korea and the Russian Far East.  It’s a significant city, but local enough that it’s easy to describe.  Also, a cousin of mine once lived there and requested it.


 

You can click on any map to enlarge it.

Niigata

Niigata Metro Area, 1960-2010 Time Elapse

 


 

Niigata1960

Niigata Metro Area, 1960

In 1960, urban Niigata was still limited to the old port island and harbor.  Surrounding the city was a ring of independent local towns and cities.

Niigata Metro Area     254,998     13th
Shibata Micro Area     28,467
Gosen Micro Area     13,600
Maki     9,685
Muramatsu     9,109
Shirone     8,043
Suibara     7,537

Niigata City     236,427     18th
92.7% of metro area

 


 

Niigata Metro Area, 1970

Niigata Metro Area, 1970

In the 1960s, Japanese cities and towns began to sprawl out, decreasing in density as they grew in population.  Niigata was no exception.  By 1970 an inner ring of suburbs and satellite towns had also developed around the city, in addition to its outward expansion.

Niigata Metro Area     330,536     12th     + 29.6%     + 1 rank
Shibata Micro Area     32,921     + 15.6%
Gosen Micro Area     16,498     + 21.3%
Maki Micro Area     10,466     + 8.1%
Muramatsu     9,674     + 6.2%
Shirone     9,318     + 15.9%
Suibara     7,837     + 4.0%
Kosudo     5,546     [new DID]

Niigata City     275,780     24th     + 16.6%     – 6 ranks
83.4% of metro area     – 9.3% of metro area

 


 

Niigata Metro Area, 1980

Niigata Metro Area, 1980

The sprawl of the 1960s only accelerated in the 1970s, with a massive nationwide wave of urban development.  Niigata in particular exemplified this trend, with a rapid expansion of city space accompanied by major population increase and density decrease.  Niigata’s employment area also expanded as formerly independent small cities in the outer belt started to become commuter satellites.

Niigata Metro Area     498,636     12th     + 50.9%
Shibata Micro Area     36,341     + 10.4%
Gosen Micro Area     25,132    + 52.3%
Shirone     9,347     + 0.3%

Niigata City     394,689     24th     + 43.1%
79.2% of metro area     – 4.2% of metro area

 


 

Niigata Metro Area, 1990

Niigata Metro Area, 1990

By the 1980s, the massive wave of urban expansion had largely run its course.  Niigata grew at a reduced pace, but continued to expand its employment area, notably “taking over” the formerly independent city of Shibata.

Niigata Metro Area     602,491     12th     + 20.8%
Gosen Micro Area     25,757    + 2.5%

Niigata City     426,364     22nd     + 8.0%     + 2 ranks
70.8% of metro area     – 8.4% of metro area

 


 

Niigata Metro Area, 2000

Niigata Metro Area, 2000

Niigata’s growth continued to slow in the 1990s, with little visible change on the map.  The city and urban area had begun to slide in ranking.

Niigata Metro Area     634,340     13th     + 5.3%     – 1 rank
Gosen Micro Area     24,530    – 4.8%

Niigata City     437,336     26th     + 2.6%     – 4 ranks
68.9% of metro area     – 1.9% of metro area

 


 

Niigata Metro Area, 2010

Niigata Metro Area, 2010

In the 2000s, Niigata formally annexed many of its satellite cities, swelling the city proper’s population and share of the metropolitan area.  As part of this expansion, the city divided into wards.  At the same time, overall growth is still slow, and Niigata Metro is still losing rank to faster-growing cities elsewhere.

Niigata Metro Area     666,984     14th     + 5.1%     – 1 rank

Niigata City     583,329     18th     + 33.4%     + 8 ranks
87.5% of metro area     + 18.6% of metro area

 

If there’s any city or region of Japan you’d like to see, just ask me in the comments!

 

National land numerical information (densely inhabited district data)
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
1960: A16-60_15_DID.shp
1965: A16-65_15_DID.shp
1970: A16-70_15_DID.shp

1975: A16-75_15_DID.shp
1980: A16-80_15_DID.shp
1985: A16-85_15_DID.shp
1990: A16-90_15_DID.shp
1995: A16-95_15_DID.shp
2000: A16-00_15_DID.shp
2005: A16-05_15_DID.shp
2010: A16-10_15_DID.shp
Processed and edited in ArcGIS Explorer
Microsoft Bing Maps used as basemap

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