In Tokyo, the houseless population amounts to a critical
mass; they emerge into a recognisable community and occupy prominent
public spaces. The houseless have the desire to be ignored by ordinary
Tokyo life and vice versa, nevertheless the presence and affect of the
houseless in the city is significant and made visible by a characteristic
blue sheet provided by the Municipality.
In the lifestyle of the houseless, public space is the stage where everyday
life appears and reappears again; public space is a palimpsest repeatedly
occupied with private needs.
The observation starts with code and behaviour, then leads to space.
Through this, places with very different characters reveal similar potentials.
The mechanism of the houseless in public space in Tokyo works in three
1) Negative Flow: leftover space from normal routes, signifying spatial
2) Time: after normal hours, empty public space provides an opportunity
for other users outside the ordinary routine.
3) Fluctuation of borders: instead of one clear border, there is a territory
of possible borders. On some sites, the border is vague, elastic and
negotiable; on other sites, the border is well defined and less negotiable.