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Senior Researcher & Project Coordinator, The Grand Projet

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 urbanisation processes in and around megacity regions and their implication on a local and global scale. Her doctoral study looked 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 Programme at the London School of Economics (LSE), she further specialised in sustainable business strategies in developing countries. Naomi also holds a degree in cultural studies from the University of Tuebingen, Germany.


In her research she looks at Tokyo as a metropolitan complex and key to approach the structure of the megacity region. She studies the concept of Differences as a heuristic tool of analysis for a political-economic, socio-spatial and culture-critical understanding of urbanisation processes.

Tokyo further provides the context to sites of high-density, mixed-used developments studied in the Grand Projet. Here, the socio-political condition, stakeholder constellations and phasing processes of large-scale urban developments as well as the production of concentrated and diverse urban spaces are the focus of her studies.

Awards / Fellowships

  • 2009: Research fellowship on Architecture and Design at the University of Tokyo, Department of Architecture
  • 2009: Heinrich Degen Stiftung, Research Travel Grant
  • 2004: Research fellowship on Intercultural Communication at the Doshisha University, Kyoto, Department of Intercultural Communication

Exhibitions & Conferences

  • Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture, Shenzhen: “Cartographies of Planetary Urbanization” by Neil Brenner, Christian Schmid, Milica Topalovic, 4 December 2015 – February 2016.
  • The URA Centre: “Future Cities: Research in Action” by Future Cities Laboratory, 2015.
  • ETH Main Building: “Future Cities Symposium and Exhibition” by Future Cities Laboratory, 2014.
  • Theaterhaus Stuttgart: “MEIN TOKYO MY TOKYO 私の東京. Images of Tokyo from two eras (Martha Huber-Villinger 2053 - Naomi Hanakata 2010-2013) and reports of different authors capture a vivid and personal portrait of the urban mega region Tokyo” by Edition Esefeld&Traum, 2013.
  • 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.


Dr. (des.) Sc. ETH Zurich in Architecture and Urban Geography
BSc and MSc in Architecture ETH Zurich
Research Fellow University of Tokyo
BA Cultural Studies University of Tuebingen
Research Fellow Doshisha University

Page URL: http://www.fcl.ethz.ch/people/Researchers/NaomiHanakata.html
Wed Jun 28 09:16:21 CEST 2017
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