From 1603 until the Meiji Restoration in 1863, the Tokugawa shogunate ruled Japan from the city of Edo, meaning “bay door” or “estuary.” Though now known as Tokyo, the city is still inexorably tied to its estuarine roots. From the Edo-period espousal of the principles of the “floating world” (Ukiyo)—a pleasure-seeking, urban lifestyle—to the numerous artificial island projects of the 20th century, Tokyo has faced throughout its history the need to negotiate a fluctuating coastline in order to expand and modernize. Today, for the first time, the population of Japan is shrinking, making this an ideal time to invert the practice of reclaiming land from the bay for urban growth, and begin reclaiming the bay from the land.
Tokyo Bay Marine Fields invents new mapping typologies to address the ineffectiveness of GIS at notating fluid systems. The process converts traditional hydrological representations that express measuring conventions more than actual conditions—contours to express pollution, point annotations to express bathymetry, color ramps to express salinity, etc—to soft yet precise gradients and point fields, and then combines these layers into complex McHargian overlays to determine suitable sites for bay reclamation, edge naturalization, and productive hydrological infrastructure. These super-regional infrastructure systems are inspired by estuarine mangrove communities, adapting the root functions to a large scale to house desalination plants, water purification and delivery infrastructure, shoreline stabilization infrastructure, fish hatcheries, and other types of aquaculture.