Naomi Hanakata is an architect, urban designer, and urban researcher at the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) of the Singapore ETH Centre. Her research focuses on urbanization processes in and around megacity regions and their implication on a local and global scale. Her doctoral study looks at the question of differences within the larger metropolitan region of Tokyo. She is interested in socio-spatial processes, which contribute to the complex and extensive structure of the contemporary city. She is further engaged in the debate around sustainable future cities with the research project on Thinking Urban Futures (TUF). Naomi is trained as an architect and urban planner at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (ETH Zurich) and the University of Tokyo, Japan. She has worked on various scales as an architect, planner and consultant in Zurich, Tokyo, New York and Singapore and has taught at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Through the Executive Programm at the London School of Economics (LSE) she further specialised on sustainable business strategies in developing countries. Naomi also holds a degree in cultural studies from the University of Tuebingen, Germany.


With my research on the Tokyo Metropolitan Complex I am aiming at finding a key to approach the complex structure of the megacity region. On the backdrop of a relatively strong socio-economic homogeneity of Tokyo itself and in the context of the larger region (hinterland) I propose that an analysis of differences on a political-economic, socio-spatial culture-critical scale can serve as a key to the understanding of urbanisation processes.   Thus, the guiding question of my research asks how these differences are being produced in the context of different actor-constellations and localities within the Tokyo Metropolitan Complex. With my analysis I focus on different modes of production of differences and with that hope to extend the field of consideration of the academic discourse on the concept of differences.

Exhibitions / Conferences / Events

  • Hanakata, N. (2008). Tokyo, A Fragmented City.
  • Hanakata, N. (2011). Tokyo, A Structure of Meaning.
  • Hanakata, N. (2012). Tokyo in a Comparative Context: Urbanisation Processes Today. 
  • Hanakata, N. (2013a). Production of Differences in the Tokyo Metropolitan Complex.
  • Hanakata, N. (2013b). Differences in the Tokyo Metropolitan Complex, in: Japanese Cities. Los Angeles.
  • Hanakata, N. & Wong, K. P. (2013). Incorporation of Differences, in: Los Angeles.