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Why Does Japan Have ‘Disposable’ Homes?
It’s always nice to see construction scaffolding around an older building, rather than a bulldozer heading towards it, as it means it’s usually undergoing renovation to help to stay standing and functional for years to come. Whether that’s old, interesting, reclaimed buildings such as former mills and factories, or even just the opportunity to give an ugly building from another time a new lease of life, it can often be one of the more rewarding projects.
However, in different cultures around the world, the approach to saving homes and buildings is a little more cut-throat. Most Japanese homes, as an example, are destroyed after around 30 years and rebuilt.
It’s definitely a quirk of the Japanese housing market which doesn’t translate here in the UK, where Japanese houses don’t retain their value, and often, when it comes to sell up, they’re worthless but for the land they stand on. So why are their homes so disposable?
Many houses there are built very cheaply – usually prefabricated and made from steel beams with in-fit panels. In part, this is down to the country’s ever changing building regulations for withstanding earthquakes, so the housing culture has evolved on the idea that it makes more sense to knock down and rebuilt every few decades than rework houses to meet new regulations.
However, according to The Guardian, this is beginning to change. Instead of wrecking balls, scaffolding sites are a more common sight, as people begin to appreciate living in older houses more and are choosing to reconfigure with the home’s outer shell.
It’s definitely an interesting outlook compared to the UK’s obsession with period property.