Tokyo Tech News

Student-led project deepens local knowledge and love for Ookayama area

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Published: January 20, 2023

The Ookayama North Exit Shopping Area was particularly lively from October 24 to 30, 2022 thanks to the Oooshirumachi Project, a student-led initiative that brought a number of events and exhibitions to the area throughout the week. This project was born from a Tokyo Tech student group's desire to interact with local citizens, spread knowledge about the Ookayama area, and help develop a deeper affinity for the neighborhood. The student group spent roughly half a year preparing for the weeklong event, building the interior of the rented venue by hand and creating a truly unique space for all members of the community.

Signs at venue encouraging passersby to visit

Signs at venue encouraging passersby to visit

In addition to the events that had been scheduled beforehand, the venue also hosted a number of spontaneous occasions such as a pottery class held by an inspired passerby and a previously unplanned lecture on urban development aimed at 2nd-year Department of Architecture and Building Engineering students by a Tokyo Tech faculty member. The inviting, spur-of-the-moment environment attracted over 500 visitors to the venue over the seven-day period.

Creating a unique space from scratch
Creating a unique space from scratch

The Oooshirumachi Project included the following exhibitions and events.

Rediscover Ookayama exhibitions

  • Exhibit of Ookayama-related articles published by Tokyo Tech student group on Note information sharing website
  • 3D model of hilly Ookayama area in which local residents could attach flags to highlight important locations
  • Photo contest — Photos of favorite scenery in Ookayama together with some bread, considering the high number of bakeries in the area
  • Exhibition of "fragments of the town" collected and archived from favorite photos of Ookayama brought in by local residents

Model showing characteristic topography of Ookayama

Model showing characteristic topography of Ookayama

Photo contest: Ookayama scenery and bread
Photo contest: Ookayama scenery and bread

Visitors viewing exhibits and joining survey on what they like about Ookayama
Visitors viewing exhibits and joining survey on what they like about Ookayama

Exchange events for all generations

  • Three town walking tours: Visiting little-known gems on Tokyo Tech campus, touring the flow of water in the Ookayama area, and learning about the history of Ookayama Station
  • Presentation of Ookayama-related design and drafting topics from 3rd-year Architecture and Building Engineering lectures to local residents
  • Mini-school to interact with and advise local elementary and middle school students about their studies and other topics
  • On-site childcare salons by organizations active in the community
  • Programming class by Robogals Tokyo, an international volunteer group and Tokyo Tech student club

Tour of history of Ookayama Station

Tour of history of Ookayama Station

Local residents on tour of little-known spots on Ookayama Campus
Local residents on tour of little-known spots on Ookayama Campus

Presentation to local residents about Ookayama-related urban design topics
Presentation to local residents about Ookayama-related urban design topics

Comments from Oooshirumachi Project member

Yume Ozaki
4th year, Architecture and Building Engineering

We were able to talk with many local residents by holding these exhibitions and events, and we realized that Ookayama is a town loved by everyone. We met many people who had a deep knowledge about the history of the area, and we received advice from others who were interested in urban development. Many encounters were created thanks to the setting of the event, and it was a very fulfilling week. In the future, we hope to provide more opportunities for Tokyo Tech students, who have been coming to Ookayama for years, to learn more about the charms of the area.

What is the Oooshirumachi Project?

The Oooshirumachi Project is an initiative led by eight bachelor's and master's program students in the Department of Architecture and Building Engineering. The project began because the students themselves, who attend Tokyo Tech on its Ookayama Campus, wanted to know more about the surrounding area and share what they like about Ookayama with the local community and other Tokyo Tech students. A significant part of the project involves writing articles about the appealing features of Ookayama on the Note information sharing website (Japanese), which is open for all to read.

The Oooshirumachi Project was a finalist in the Future Creation Challenge contest in 2022, and is supported by the Tokyo Institute of Technology Fund.

Tokyo Tech Fund

This event is supported by Tokyo Tech Fund

Tokyo Institute of Technology Fund

Contact

Oooshirumachi Project

Email oooshirumachi@gmail.com

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