Eat your heart out, Dubai!

Long before modern technology allowed the creation of man-made islands such as the Palm Islands in Dubai, Tokyo was transformed by ordinary human laborers moving earth without modern technology. These pictures, from NHK, show the transformation of Tokyo during the Edo period, followed by a satellite image of the city today.

11 thoughts on “Eat your heart out, Dubai!”

  1. Wow, this is incredible! Thanks for sharing. I know it’s been done before and everything, but it really makes one feel the human impact on ecology.

  2. I remember hearing the famous Mark Twain quote, “Buy land; they aren’t making any more of it,” and thinking that obviously Mr. Clemens hadn’t ever been to Japan!

  3. I wonder what percentage of those filled-in areas are high-rise districts? I heard a long time ago that those are the safest, earthquake-wise, on that type of soil.

  4. I’ve heard that the safest place to built high rise buildings in terms of earthquakes is in Manhattan, which has a uniquely strong bedrock known as Manhattan schist. Of course it also helps that they never get earthquakes.

  5. …Umm, actually unless they can tap bedrock underneath that sea silt they’ve unearth, thats the LAST PLACE you wanna be in a earthquake due to liquifaction. My years of living in Los Angeles taught me that much… Remember the Bay Area Quake of 1989, or the Kobe Quake of 1994? Most damage was caused by the soil turning into quicksand during the shaking. And that soil is found mostly in the landfilled areas.

  6. I am pretty sure that liquefication is not a big deal at this point. There have already been major earthquakes on most of the older landfill, including the infamous quake of 1923, so the earth has had plenty of time to settle. The newer landfill techniques are executed with earthquakes in mind, so there is little liquefication risk. Exhibit A is Kansai Airport, a completely artificial island which withstood the 1995 Hanshin earthquake with almost no damage whatsoever, despite the fact that the same quake was toppling older buildings and overpasses on firm ground in Kobe, just across the bay.

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