Department of Urban Science Seminars

Professor Hirobumi Akagi
Analysis of the Economic Role of Nations, Regions, and Cities, and the Economic Effects of Their Activity

Students analyze the current status and problems of the financial systems of national and local governments and cities, as well as develop an understanding of the theory of public finance and examine contemporary policy debates.
Seminar objectives include learning the principles of public spending, taxation, public debt, and local finance, from the perspective of both systems and theory.

Professor Chiharu Inaba
International Relations: Urban, Regional and National

International politics today encompass a variety of problems. In many areas, conflict is unceasing, terrorism is taking place, and the environment is being destroyed. Globalization of the economy continues to advance while at the same time, nationalism has been on the rise. This seminar takes a historical approach to analysis of the current status of international politics. The desire is to be able to understand efforts to achieve solutions to what is transpiring in the international community. Each student will be required to write a thesis related to international politics.

Professor Takashi Uno
Web Programming and Mathematical Information

In the current networked society, knowledge and skills related to the Web have become one of the most important things to have.
In addition, in our social life, a mathematical thinking and an educational approach are extremely important in helping to make judgments and decisions in a rational manner by collecting and sifting through necessary information.
Based on the themes of Web programming and mathematical information, this seminar pursues in-depth computer-related research and study.

Professor Eiji Ohno
Project Assessment

The aim of this seminar is to acquire the perspective to assess the viability of projects related to national land policy (e.g., relocation of the national capital functions, consolidation of municipalities), infrastructure development (e.g., transportation facility development, disaster prevention facility development), and responses to global environmental issues (e.g., countermeasures against sea level rise and coastal pollution) through understanding their respective social backgrounds, significance, and issues, and through analysis of their impacts on the social economy.

Professor Shigeru Okabayashi
Cognitive Information Sciences

This seminar seeks to understand the urban environment from the perspective of information awareness, and analyzes and discusses the creation of a better environment in terms of sensory, aesthetic, cognitive, and emotional aspects based on how people track certain clues and perceive the environment.
By hypothesizing a perceptual-cognitive model of the various cognitive elements in ITS, the seminar will explore better methods of building information environments while conducting experiments and verifications.
To accomplish the above, students will master basic skills such as cognitive science, psychology experiments, electronic measurements, and computer programming.

Professor Kiyonobu Kaido
The Nature of Desirable Urban and Regional Living Environments

This seminar has three main themes.
The first relates to the nature of sustainable cities and regions. The seminar explores the nature of urban space configurations and of urban and regional structures. Students will conduct comparative research (graphics, statistics, etc.) on cities in Japan and on cities abroad such as in the UK.

The second theme is joint community development through citizen participation. In recent years, the variety of activities carried out by citizens has expanded to include many areas, and the experience of community development with the participation of residents has been accumulating.
In the seminar, students will learn not only the fundamentals, but will also learn while participating in actual community development activities.

The third theme is urban development from the perspective of the scenic landscape. Landscapes represent the history of the region as well as life and culture. Students will learn about the nature of attractive and desirable public spaces and streets and urban design.

Professor Shigenori Kamata
Social Security and Community Welfare through Market Mechanisms

Third-year students will read in turns Keynes’s The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money in Japanese. This book elucidated for the first time the mechanism that leads to unemployment, and at the same time, discusses countermeasures to it. Relief for the unemployed is the greatest pillar of social security, and it is also the issue currently most in dispute.
Fourth-year students will conduct graduate research according to their own chosen theme and compile the results in a paper.

Professor Eiji Kamei
Landscape Analysis and Planning

In recent years, the urban landscape has become a focus of interest as a way of evaluating the environment from a visual perspective, and creating a pleasing landscape has become a societal demand.
The aim of this seminar is to analyze the characteristics possessed by a landscape and incorporate the results in actual planning. By acquiring a range of basic knowledge and expanding the exercises related to mastery of basic skills, students will be involved in research on themes related to the landscape.

Professor Eizo Kinoshita
Decision-Making Theory — Research on the Analysis of Urban Problems Using Multivariate Analysis

  1. Evaluation of urban livability
    A variety of criteria is considered in evaluating the livability of a city. For example, the environment, convenience, cultural features, and so forth. Therefore, students will undertake quantitative evaluations of urban livability, targeting small and medium-sized cities in the Tokai region. They will use the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) for problem-solving and decision-making as an analytical tool.

  2. Consensus building and group decision-making
    A great deal of decision-making by city governments (such as prioritizing urban policies) is carried out in a group setting. Students will elucidate the mechanism of consensus building that brings the views of actors whose interests conflict into alignment by analyzing the internal structure of such group decision-making through case studies.

  3. Psychological and physical indices for urban landscapes
    Students will use AHP to investigate impressions of the ambiance of city environments to form a psychological index for an urban landscape. At the same time, students will use multivariate analysis to analyze photos of landscapes to form a physical index for the urban landscape. The results will reveal quantitatively the relationship between psychological characteristics and physical properties of a city environment (i.e., its “image”).

  4. Urban disaster preparedness and evaluation
    Students will use objective evaluation models to assess the damage situation in urban disaster preparedness. Students will construct disaster preparedness evaluation models and analyze them based on specific examples.

Professor Satoshi Koike
Environment Creation in Rural Areas (the “Countryside”)

This seminar is based on three key research concepts: 1) building community around “farming”, 2) “green” tourism, and (3) urban ecology (eco cities). Each student will establish a research theme associated with at least one of the key concepts above in line with his or her own interests and complete a thesis.
The seminar also has programs to increase the motivation to do work related to the environment and urban amenities.

Professor Norihiko Saiga
Extracting Management Problems and Planning Management Strategies in the Private Sector, NPOs, and Municipal Governmental Entities

The Japanese economy is continuing its longest post-war economic expansion. This is the result of the success of companies skillfully deploying strategies in a globalized competitive environment. The seminar’s aim is to investigate and study the actual situation of growing companies as well as companies on the decline from a business management approach. In the first semester, students will learn the basic principles of business administration based on case studies of management strategies. In the second semester, students will set their own research theme and create and publish a thesis, making full use of literature research and questionnaire-type surveys.

Professor Junya Sakai
Health and Medical Informatics

Through learning the terminology and legal system as well as the roles and functions of medical treatment and nursing care, students will aim to meet the certification requirements and standards to become a Healthcare Information Technologist (HIT) or Medical Device Information Communicator (MDIC), for which there will be an increasing need in society in the future. Students will also study issues related to policy aspects of current medical and nursing care, and propose safe and acceptable solutions.

Professor Yasuhito Shimada
Business Management and Accounting Information

Today in Japan, accounting systems have changed significantly in response to the trend toward globalization. It is popularly known as the accounting Big Bang. Its impact is extending broadly to what the role of management of a company should be. Since their inception, accounting systems have been constantly revised in response to changes in the business environment. This is because accounting and business management have evolved and developed while having a mutual impact on each other. The objective of this seminar is to gain a deeper understanding of accounting and to study the role that accounting information plays in corporate management.

Professor Shengping Zhang
Planning of Urban Water Utilization Systems

Primary research topics include:

  1. Evaluation of the reliability of urban water supply systems
  2. Municipal wastewater reuse for environmental improvement and for water supply during natural disasters
  3. Impacts of global climate change on urban drainage systems
  4. Environmental evaluation of public water bodies and pollutant control
  5. Planning of urban drainage systems
  6. Urban water environment planning

The thesis theme for each student will be chosen from the above topics with careful consideration given to both the interests and the capabilities of each student.

Professor Masaaki Teshima
Urban Problems and Public Policy

The ultimate goal of this seminar is for students to complete a research project of their own and compile the results in a thesis. Students usually advance toward completing a thesis through dialog, discussion, reporting, presentation, training, and research, but in this seminar, students focus on reporting, presentation, and discussion. The intention is to strengthen the student’s capabilities required to put together a thesis, including identifying issues, searching and collecting related literature, analyzing problems, synthesizing, and proposing solutions.

Professor Masakazu Nagura
Cyber Solutions

Third-year students will participate in exercises while gaining an understanding of existing technologies (algorithms) including image processing, CG/CAD, advanced intelligent processing (perception, understanding) and producing software to realize concrete examples. Students will also examine typical commercially available software (image editing/processing, video editing, CAD, CG, drawing/illustration, ACCESS, PowerPoint, DTP, etc.), as well as geographic information database software. Fourth-year students will conduct graduate-level research on novel technologies.

Professor Hideki Noboru
Community Development and Local Government

In the first semester, students will learn the relationship between community development and local government. In the second semester, students will select a theme of their own, conduct investigative research, and write a paper and present it. As a general rule, students are basically expected to operate independently on their own, including for student presentations, questioning, etc. Up to now, students have 1) participated in the Japan Association of Local Government Policy Studies, Tokai Branch, 2) gained experience in freedom-of-information requests based on information disclosure policies of prefectures and municipalities, and 3) created summaries of issues using affinity diagramming (the KJ method).

Professor Shigeru Fukushima
Understanding the Image and Planning Principles of the City of the 21st Century

The goal of this seminar is to understand the image of the city of the 21st century and consider the concepts behind its planning. To gain perspective in thinking about this, five viewpoints will be offered: 1) population ageing and population decline; 2) decentralization of governmental power and civic participation; (3) growing environmental awareness; (4) the information-driven society; and (5) globalization of the economy and internationalization of cities. Students will select one theme from among these and by focusing their research over two years, come to understand the image of the city of the 21st century and consider its planning concepts through presentations and discussions.

Professor Masafumi Morisugi
Systems Engineering and Approaches to Economic Assessments for Local Environments and Resource Recycling

Although both population and consumption of resources will decline with the advent of population ageing, this will, at the same time, have a detrimental impact on local government finances and economic vitality. Also, if there is no change in the way living spaces are spread out, the transportation efficiency for materials and waste will decrease, and instead, resource consumption per capita will rise. Under these circumstances, regions must develop higher-quality living environments as a strategy to prevent population outflow. With a basic awareness of the above problems, this seminar will examine the role of policies that incorporate the environment in the region in their viewpoints.

Professor Katsu Yamatani
Mathematics for Digital Technology

Students will experience the fun of mathematical science through a variety of applications.
They will come to understand the difficulty in giving shape to their ideas and images.
They will also learn logical thinking and its mode of expression.

Professor Hiroshi Wakabayashi
Transport Planning, Traffic Engineering, Disaster Preparedness Planning, Traffic Signage Research, and Evaluation of Safety Measures to Prevent Traffic Accidents

Students will set a schedule with the goal of completing a thesis. Applicants should bear in mind that there can be no graduation without completion of a thesis. Students can be confident that this seminar is worthwhile because of its established reputation with previous graduates. The plan is to make reading related literature and learning computer languages (C, FORTRAN, HP language) the basic seminar study units. Because the seminar is computer intensive, students who are interested in or who are open to programming and PCs are encouraged to apply.

Associate Professor Yuka Karatani
Urban Safety and Security Management

  1. Development of citizen participatory disaster preparedness map-making support tools and their deployment in disaster preparedness education
    Knowing natural external forces well and being familiar with the local community are two important points in preparing for disasters and in considering local disaster preparedness. The seminar develops a disaster preparedness map-making support tool to enable a well-balanced approach to learning these and links it to educating the citizenry with a sustained awareness of disaster preparedness. In addition, based on lessons learned and the experience of past disasters, students will explore disaster preparedness education programs aimed at schools.

  2. Proposals for urban crime prevention strategies as viewed in terms of urban structure and the moral level of the citizenry
    Recently, the number of incidents of children being attacked in familiar surroundings such as city parks and green spaces has been on the rise, and incorporating the perspective of a “town safe and secure from crime” in city planning has become a pressing issue. Accordingly, students will use a GIS (geographic information system) to analyze the spatial relationships between a city’s urban structure (hard aspects) and the moral level of the citizenry (soft aspects) to get a handle on the occurrence of crime and its factors in the region, and will discuss strategies to prevent urban crime.

  3. Proposals for ways and means to evaluate and develop barrier-free transportation systems
    Students will trace the history behind efforts in various countries to make public transport accessible, and then explore methods to evaluate barrier-free designs that take into account the changes in people’s values and income levels accompanying social and economic development. For example, students will target countries and regions whose development situations differ, such as the US and China. They will then conduct interviews and questionnaire surveys on barrier-free designs and systems, and using these evaluation strategies, measure and verify the benefits, and propose ways and means appropriate to the country concerned based on the results.

Associate Professor Shin Sugiura
Mathematical Planning

Mathematical planning and operations research (OR) are used with the aim of analyzing and solving various problems in the real world. The objective of this seminar is to write a graduate thesis using mathematical planning and OR. Students will select a theme related to issues of management, economics, and urban social problems. They will collect and analyze data and evaluate various problems in urban areas and in society.

Associate Professor Shinichiro Sugiura
Human Geography—Geographical Study of Socio-economic Activities in Modern Japan

The objective of this seminar is to identify various social and economic activities of people in cities and rural areas of Japan, and empirically determine the reality of the situation from a geographical point of view, such as regional features and/or differences with other regions, or relationships between regions. Setting a research target and research theme will require that students proactively select from among a broad range of topics, including various types of industry, governments, civic life, social welfare, etc., according to their own intellectual interests and awareness of issues.

Associate Professor Atsuo Suzuki
The Science of Management

Students will make a selection from and conduct research on a range of topics focusing on operations research and also including applied probability theory and the like.

Associate Professor Yuki Miyamoto
Economics Analysis on Cities (Regions)

Students will write a thesis on a subject of their own choosing. Students will learn information collection, presentation, and how to engage in discussions while also acquiring the knowledge necessary to do so.

Associate Professor Takafumi Mizuno
Mathematical Model Expression and Implementation for Computer Decision-Making and Information Processing

Students will pursue the following themes through their research activities:

  1. Technical writing.
  2. Mathematical model expression.
  3. C languages (3, 4, and more computer exercises).
  4. Implementing information based on computer languages to support decision-making activities.