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On the Mark: Japan offers insight on practical urban living


December 27, 2019

Ann Markusen

Walkers and bikers share the sidewalk and are extremely courteous in Kyoto, Japan

A kinder, gentler community life. That's how I'd describe Kyoto, Japan.

I'm here for probably the sixth or seventh visit, including the fall I taught at Ritsumeikan University. Probably community life in Tokyo and Osaka is denser, faster and more impersonal than in Kyoto, but not as fast and furious as New York City or Los Angeles.

For the past five days, Rod and I have walked many of the narrow streets around our guesthouse. Traffic is gentle, for many reasons, even on four-lane arterials. There are few big trucks here. Even construction projects are small-scale. Few buildings are over fi...

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