Should reclaiming the waterfront of cities be stopped for not being eco-friendly?

It is important to see also the point of view of a trade-off with the disposal of sediments from river and port dredging and subway construction.



- Fukuoka City’s Island City was reclaimed of dredged sediment from the port development and subway system construction.

- At the same time, considering the natural environment of living creatures of the area, the project has evolved into an environmental symbiosis type.



Island City, Fukuoka City


Island City is a reclaimed artificial island in the eastern coastal area of Fukuoka City, a total area of 401 hectares. It has two zones; port zone in the west with the fruit and vegetable section of the Fukuoka City Central Wholesale Market and residential area in the east, with a high rise apartment complex, parks, hospitals, and, as well as amusement facilities like health spa and gymnasium. Soon, a hotel and a shopping mall are also planned there.



When the island was initially planned in 1978, it was 550 hectares of reclaimed land attached to the coastline, but considering the effects on the natural environment of the area, the plan was later changed to an island-style in 1989. For the reclamation of this island, dredged sediment from Hakata Bay has been used, together with the residue from the subway system construction of Fukuoka City.


Fukuoka City, or its ancient name, Hakata, has a port called Hakata Port. It is one of the major ports in Japan, accommodating huge cruise liners from Asian countries and serving as a hub of an international maritime transport network as well. The number of passenger handling ranked the 1st, and container handling the 6th among the Japanese ports in 2017. However, Hakata Bay, where the port is located, has a geographical feature of being at a river delta -- shallow. Depositions of sediment are carried by 40 rivers flowing into the bay, as well as ocean tides. The average depth of Hakata Bay is 10.8 meters, even shallower than the inner part of Tokyo Bay, which is said to be shallow, 15 meters deep. To maintain the status of being one of the major ports in Japan accommodating huge ships, developing the port is essential, and it also has been routinely required to dredge sediment piled up in the bay and to maintain the depth of water as a port.



Also, the consideration of the natural environment of the area has been important for this project, as seen in the change of plan from an attached reclaimed land to an island. Eco Park Zone was established at sea between the island and the original coastline, and the tideland where the rest of the waterfowl. The residents can come in contact with nature there. And also, the use of solar power, accumulators, recycled water, and rainwater is encouraged on this island to realize an environmentally friendly society.


Environmental symbiosis perspective has become essential in a development plan. Fukuoka’s Island City is an excellent example of the reconciliation of development and conservation.



[Case ID: Urban Policy UP-03]

Edited and photographed by Local Knowledge Platform LLC.