Zdenka Havlova

PhD Candidate
Department of Architecture

The University of Tokyo

Zdenka Havlova was born in a town of visionary urban designs of the early 20th century, Zlin, in the Czech Republic, which played a pivotal role in her choice of vocation. She holds a bachelor's and a master's degrees in architecture and urbanism from the Czech Technical University in Prague and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Architecture at the University of Tokyo. Zdenka's research interests include multilevel urbanism and grade-separated pedestrian systems in cities; the sustainability and resilience of such systems, mainly regarding their roles in the context of public space. Public space, its stratification, commercialization, and privatization, coupled with the differences in theory between the Asian and the Western world, is also featured in her research. These topics are significant in both post-industrial and currently developing countries worldwide and Zdenka would like to investigate the issues throughout her future career in academia.

Multi-Layered Public Space: A Taxonomy of Elevated Grade-Separated Pedestrian Systems in Tokyo

Various cities have been transforming into multi-dimensional networks dedicated solely to pedestrians elevated above or sunken below ground. The grade-separated pedestrian systems (GSPS), introduced to release pedestrian-car conflicts, connect city blocks, or for economic benefits, have become ubiquitous and utilized by millions daily. The doctoral dissertation aims to investigate multilevel pedestrian urbanism in Tokyo by finding the types of elevated GSPS and discussing their roles in the context of public space. The development of GSPS has received criticism since its spread in North American cities in the 1960s. Some have noted that GSPS create artificial environments with homogeneous users and activities, take away from the street level, or destroy important vistas. Private actors produce spaces that are modeled to maximize spending with little regard for rights and liberties traditionally assured is public space. This research builds on pragmatic knowledge claims and adopts a mixed methods approach. The first part focuses on drivers of the location of elevated GSPS in Tokyo through a GIS spatial analysis. The second part classifies GSPS by the formation of a numerical taxonomy based on empirical data, collected mainly by field observation. The variables used in the cluster analysis are defined from design, socio-cultural, and political perspectives. The third part reconstructs the taxonomical relationships and reviews the characters and roles in the context of public space. The findings reveal the significance of factors like ownership, spatial morphology, or opportunities for activities. The dissertation finally argues that GSPS form a specific type of urban spaces, termed multi-layered public space.