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Akiko Okabe / Professor / Division of Environmental Studies
Department of Socio-cultural Environmental Studies / / Architectural Design, Community Design, Public Spaces
http://okabelab.wix.com/okabelab

Career Summary
1985: Graduated from Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering (University of Tokyo)
1985: Architect at Arata Isozaki and Associates in Barcelona, Spain
1989: Received masterfs degree in engineering from the University of Tokyo
1989-2003: Independent architect and design critic
[1996-2003: Hori and Okabe, architects]
2003-2004: Assistant (University of Tokyo)
2004-2013: Associate professor (Chiba University)
2005: Obtained a Doctor degree (Environmental Studies, University of Tokyo)
2013-2015: Professor, (Chiba University)
2015-present: Professor (University of Tokyo)
Educational Activities
Graduate school: Environmental Design, IEDP architectural design studio
Faculty of Engineering: Architectural Design
Graduate School (Chiba University): Public Spaces
Faculty of Engineering (Chiba University): Urban-environmental Design
Research Activities
A. Community design project with architectural intervention "Gonjiro" (2009-present) 1)
Field activities such as re-thatching a traditional farmer's house, einsertingf new kitchen facilities in the ruined kitchen-building, and reclaiming an original multipurpose space, Doma, with local people and students. This is research by design practice to tackle the aging and depopulating society in Japan.

Thatching before/after, Ruin-Kitchen before/after.
Thatching before/after, Ruin-Kitchen before/after.

B. Architectural micro intervention to slum settlements "Environmental Voids" (2009-present) 2)
Field activities in a high-density informal settlement in Jakarta (Indonesia). We introduced the concept of "Environmental Voids" to improve ventilation and lighting while respecting the existent urban tissue. This is research by practice with a focus on micro-intervention in growing Asian megacities.

Existing urban tissue and inserting
Existing urban tissue and inserting "Environmental Voids", informal common facility under construction with local people.

C. Studies on urban strategies and environmental policies at European level (1998-2010) 3)
D. Theoretical studies on public spaces, Barcelona as a case (1990-present) 4) 5)
Literature
1) Okabe, A. (2014) Gradual intervention with thatched roof house: Generating care cycle of natural, built, and social environments (in Japanese), Public Studies 10(1), pp. 55-68.
2) Amemiya, T., Okabe, A., and Evawani, E., et al. (2013) Megacity Skeleton, SD2013 pp. 12-15.
3) Okabe, A. (2003) Sustainable Cities: European Regional Policy and Environmental Strategy (in Japanese), Kyoto: Gakugei.
4) Okabe, A. (2010) Barcelona: A Mediterranean City (in Japanese), Tokyo: Chuko-shinsyo.
5) Okabe, A. (2003) Reclaiming public space for people: the roots of European urban regeneration (in Japanese). In Uzawa, Usui and Maeda eds. Towards Urban Renaissance: Cities as Social Common Capital 1, Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, pp. 11-38. DBJ Research Center on Global Warming Discussion Paper Series No. 38 (7/2011 in English)
Other Activities
Architectural Institute of Japan (AIJ)
City Planning Institute of Japan (CPIJ)
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Future Plan
Now when the limits of modern planning are obvious, we are seeking alternative physical design through an environmental approach. On the basis of our activities in Jakarta, we are planning to share micro-intervention experience all over Asia, Africa, and Latin America. We also intend to develop theoretical study on public spaces to support alternative urbanism.

Messages to Students
You have the ideal environment to gain multi-disciplinary knowledge here in the department of socio-cultural environmental studies. However, it is not enough to solve complicated and globalized contemporary problems. Sometimes, we can penetrate the essence of problems more effectively through micro-practices such as re-thatching roofs and building facilities with informal communities.
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