Liz Truss Wants Japenese Style Zoning – Add a Story Tokyo Style

Daily Mail

 ‘I also think we need to make it easier to build up in cities. I quite like the Japanese system where essentially you can build up on top of your house without having to get extra planning permission. I think we need to be more liberal about these policies.’

What Japan does not have is a GPDO which grants a class XYZ right to build up a story.


a) It operates a zoning and subdivision system based on national standard zones, municipality choose what where.

b) It is based on ‘inclusionary’ zoning – rather than euclidean zoning like the states i.e. you can build one of several uses in a zone depending on its impact and the sensitivity of the zone to high impact uses – this works well.

c) It is based on Floor Space Index – (FAR in other words) zoning plans set the maximum FSI for a site, with some rules about building envelopes,  then you have ;as of right’ in zoning law jargon to build within these parameters, this might include an additional story in high density arras, or it might not.  British tack on roof extensions are quite rare rarely, because the rules have been steady for decades so must plots are built out to their envelopes anyway.

d) The Japenese system is orderly and efficient in managing change, utilities, changes of use and land reorganisation, as well as managing infrastructure and public transport to development capacity – Japanese zoning experts are sought around the world.

e) The Japenese system is notoriously weak on design control and creating attraxctive planned quarters.  This partially is cultural, they had to build quickly following man made and natural disasters, the urban scape was seen as temporary as a Godzilla film set.

f) The japenese system is not the best of all possible world sin zoning terms.  there is a lot to learn from hybrid zoning systems around the world that do a lot better at regulating design for example.

So the lesson is don’t through ignorance use this as a basis for another doomed to fail neo-liberal spasm messing with the planning system in ways that encourage beds in sheds and shoddy Stamford Hill style mega roof extensions.  Do it with study and care of zoning systems and there legal basis.  Aftwer all Liz your not a lawyer, planner, architect,  comedian etc, etc.

Or in Gilberts and Sullivans words on her former title.

When I went to the Bar as a very young man
(Said I to myself — said I)
I’ll work on a new and original plan
(Said I to myself — said I)
Ere I go into court I will read my brief through
(Said I to myself — said I)
And I’ll never take work I’m unable to do
(Said I to myself — said I)

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