It is discussed in this study that several examples of “Machizukuri” (Revitalizing Community)” are classified into four quadrants. The examples have been raised at previous research meetings and one symposium at the conferences of Japan Association of Regional and Community Studies.
The four quadrants contained two axes. One is the vertical axis which indicates sectors for leading Machizukuri (from the administrative sector-initiative to the citizens and private sector-initiative).The other is the horizontal axis which identifies Machizukuri leaders (from existing Machizukuri leaders to new leaders in local communities). Then, the examples are analyzed based on their characteristics, as shown below, and classified. The examples are as follow: Government-led Town Development Company, “Stadtwerke (Municipal Utilities Authority)”, Regional Revitalization Cooperation Corps, Redevelopment Project, Community Design, Residents' Association, Area Management, Renovation, and Local Festival-Event. It has been discussed the cases of Renovation and Local Festival-Event led by “Citizens and Private Sector” and conducted by “New Leaders in Local Communities”, as it is the fourth quadrant, at research meetings in this year. Thus far, these cases have not been focused much by Japan Association of Regional and Community Studies, because this matter does not concern the leader of existing communities. However, these cases are practical and have attracted attention of practitioners and researchers in modern society. Moreover, they are activities that correspond to a downsized society of population and urban spaces. Therefore, it is important to focus on research in this field in the future.
The theory and practice of “urban management” has recently gotten more attention in response to Japan’s rapid depopulation trend. This comes from an urgent concern of municipalities to satisfy their ever-increasing fiscal needs under their strict budget constraints. In fixing this issue, they first must decide which purpose they would prioritize in budget allocation. Second, municipalities need to maximize their inhabitants’ welfare, through maximizing their total revenue, including tax revenue.
Successful urban management is closely related to how we understand the concept of “investments.” Investments usually refer to expenditures for physical capital accumulation. However, in a knowledge-based economy where knowledge becomes one of the most important driving forces of value creation / profitmaking, Intangible investments like human capital or social capital play a more important role in urban development than traditional material investments. This is because the physical infrastructure in urban areas reached a high enough level, whereas the stock level of human and social capital, which are crucial for urban management, is still not enough.
The direct participation of inhabitants in urban management is most effective in the promotion of accumulation of human and social capital, compared to enlightenment, public relations, and education / training by public authorities. Some good examples are their participation in urban planning toward infrastructure restructuring in face of future depopulation, and their participation in local renewable energy development project, which would hopefully contribute to the increase of local income. “Learning by doing” through the process of inhabitants’ participation helps in promoting human and social capital accumulation.
In the field of rural studies, there has recently been an increasing evocation regarding the discourse and practice of “endogenous rural development.” Furthermore, it is hoped that human resources, which have extensive experience and capability, will start new ventures in rural community. As a consequence, it is hoped that this would encourage innovation for endogenous rural development. Moreover, the concept of “co-creation” has emerged as a means of changing the present social system. The term “co-creation” refers to people with different values and positions working together to produce a mutually valuable outcome. However, it is not always easy for community supporters from outside to be accepted by local residents, or for them to stabilize their own living in the community.
Based on the above discussion, this paper examines daring attempts by “Tanada-dan,” to explore the possibility of co-creation between human resources from outside of communities and local residents. “Tanada-dan” is an organization that consists of residents living in Osaka. It has been actively engaged in activities for community regeneration and development in the Ueyama district, which has been a remarkably depopulated area since 2007.
First, the members of Tanada-dan and Local Vitalization Cooperators were taught the necessary skills for their own rural living, and accumulated wisdom of the ages, by local farmers. They have since been attempting to work on many kinds of new projects by making the best use of the skills they acquired in Ueyama. Meanwhile, by teaching a traditional way of life and imparting their knowledge of agriculture, local residents were able to achieve new roles, thereby finding new sense of worth in their livelihoods.
Therefore, it is significant for endogenous rural development that supporters from outside communities sincerely learn about rural culture from local residents, and then challenge new projects by making the most of these rural resources.
The inner urban areas tend to be de-populated and the buildings in such areas become older except in the center of city areas where the new high-rise buildings were rebuilt. It is said that the method of renovation would be effective as the provision for the declination of the local areas. This paper aims to examine how the renovation movement contributes to the decline of the local areas (“being spongy”).
Nakazaki-area is located near the north center of Osaka City (Umeda-Chayamachi area), and is filled with old wooden row houses. Since 2000, this area has been in the public eye, because of the agglomeration of the “renovated” old row houses. They are now used as shops selling the goods or clothes, cafés, and so on. Our research included interviewing the shopkeepers and visitors in this area with the help of questionnaires in 2011. This survey showed that many shopkeepers and visitors were female, aged around 20-30 years, and were attached to the atmosphere of this area as being “old fashioned, snoot and artistic.” Y. Shimomura (2017) called this tendency aestheticization of old buildings and inner urban areas.
From the viewpoint of the built environment, the method of renovation prevents the increase of unutilized lands and buildings. But all landowners and residents in this area do not accept the effects of the renovation movement favorably, owing to “over-tourism.” Thus, this paper shows that the rebuilding of the local areas, mainly by renovation, is not always effective.
How do “memories” influence the process of integration of urban communities? This paper aims to discuss this question through a case study of the public housing project “Tachikawa Danchi” in Tokyo, rebuilt in the late 1990s, which led to the reorganization of the neighborhood associations.
“Regional memories” were recognized as significant in previous works on urban communities in Japan(Okuda 1984; 1993, Iwasaki et al. 2013). These studies pointed out that “memories” still exist in a significant way in the people of traditional townships and in their lifestyles. But these studies did not look into the possibilities and power of “memories” in the integration of various residents into a community. In this paper, I have classified “memories” into two categories. One is in which memory is based on social relations and the common experience of people. This category of memory will be referred to as “realitybased memory.” The other category includes memory which is constructed as a vision of a community by people. This will be referred to as “constructed memory.”
From this study I arrived at two theoretical findings. First, “reality-based memory” integrates a community, through a transformation into “constructed memory.” This process is followed by a phase in which a connection is established between “reality-based memory” and the idea of the community. In “Tachikawa Danchi,” the memory of the people who lived there in the 1980s before the rebuilding project, was connected to a vision of a whole community through newsletters. Second, “reality-based memory” had a role as fasteners that fix people, who share social relations and a common experience. It still keeps people tied to the social network.
In conclusion, this paper brings in a theoretical impetus to “memories” and their role in urban community studies. Both categories of “memories” are necessary in the integration of an urban community. We should comprehend sustainable integration of an urban community as happening through the connection established with the idea of community and a process which fixes people into a specific social network.
“Maintaining community” sentiments is said to be essential for communities in the recovery process from large-scale disasters. However, it is never clear just what this “community” can be and how it should be maintained. The community itself becomes divided through displacement and relocation. As livelihood and structure are upended, people become disconnected from their local environment, and symbols representing their local identity (such as festivals) are lost. They are faced with new circumstances in which they have to seek new connections in an entirely different space. This case study is based on research related to the displacement of communities due to mass emigration in the Okawa Area of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, following the devastating tsunami, caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. This projected started in 2016 with the interviews of residents while they were creating miniature models of their communities, and formed the data for the analysis.
In the Okawa area, four villages (approximately 400 households) relocated toward the inland, about 15 km from where they used to live. Prior to the disaster, each community contained a cooperative association for jointly managing festivals and was also in charge of the surrounding forest areas. However, such activities ceased following the difficulties faced by community members as they remain confined to their temporary housing setups. Okawa Elementary School lost 84 children and teachers in the disaster. Some residents wanted to demolish the school building itself to erase the memory of the disaster, while others wanted to preserve it, indicative of a conflict of interests amongst residents. Under these circumstances, residents were made to participate in five week-long workshops, alongside members of the “Lost Homes Project,” as an attempt to preserve memories of the community by creating miniature models.
With an organization of fishermen at its center, the project was run by a group of four university labs, gathering participants across several villages and from different walks of life. Three recurring themes were noticed when residents created narratives using miniatures: natural landscape (the ocean and rivers, and related activities), facets of society (schools buildings, etc.), and lifestyle (daily life, festivals). Community members’ relationship with nature, with each other, and with local organizations were understood through these narratives. As cultural symbols, conventions, and local property had become difficult to maintain due to mass displacement, they strove to preserve their “sense of community” by sharing memories about their communities, while also building new interpersonal connections.
This study aims to examine the possibility of relationships between Smart Town and its neighboring region, through the case of Tsunashima in Yokohama. This study will focus on Smart Town, that is - town development in urbanized area made possible through cutting-edge technology and will consider the relationships based on differences in urban renewal. The results of questionnaires and interviews addressed to old and new residents in Tsunashima have been used as data.
The findings of this research revealed the following. First, old residents regarded Smart Town as a different region and were not sure of the harmonization of Smart Town with its neighboring regions. Second, new residents thought that Smart Town areas will be able to relate with neighboring regions, centered on the large commercial complex at the Smart Town. On the other hand, old residents think that the connection between both regions may materialize because of the neighborhood association. Third, old residents want Smart Town to give back electric power interchange to the neighboring regions during power outage at the time of disaster. The results of this study indicates that it is important to consider old residents’ opinions, and the necessity of sharing in the region, like in the case of electric power interchange or shared bicycles.
Rice agriculture in the Tohoku region of Honshu has been supported by wage employment since the 1960s. However, this agricultural system faces many difficulties, especially shortage of managerial successors, and it introduces social crises to local societies.
Some farmers and habitants have been trying to maintain and develop the local agriculture and family lives against those social crises. This research aims to study their activities and logics through 10 case studies in Osaki-City, Miyagi-Prefecture.
The basic framework of this inquiry is based on Plato’s Idea theory. People’s activities and the logic underlying them are developed out of ideas conceived by them. The ideas are developed into four aspects of activities, self-help, self-expression, associational cooperation and communal cooperation (conviviality), by setting up two analytical axes: individual-cooperative and logos-eros. By using this framework, the activities and logics of 10 cases of interviewees are understood more deeply.
Lastly, the study shows that the logic of “stranger” was conceived by some I- or U-turn habitants and farmers and they had inspired people around them to live and work independently and to cooperate in a convivial manner.