Supporters Network for Community Development "Machizukuri"
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14. Residential Area

 There are two distinct residential areas affected by the earthquake. In Kobe and the region between Kobe and Osaka, located to the east of central city, the Hanshinkan residential area was well known as a good living environment developed as a suburb of Osaka. In contrast, the densely built-up area in the western part of Kobe had a strong united community, though it lacked in disaster-prevention measures. This mixed-use area is characterized with local industries and shops.
 According to Hyogo Prefecture, the Great Hanshin Earthquake destroyed about 137,000 housing units. 202,000 houses have been newly built in the disaster afflicted urban area until March 1997. These numbers seem to show that housing reconstruction is satisfactory. However, it is presumed that the number of 202,000 includes new construction with no relation to rebuilding. In the eastern urban area, the number of newly built houses is over the number of destroyed houses. In the western urban area, housing reconstruction has remained stagnant.
 The following programs promote housing reconstruction. Supply low rental housing in quantity by public housing. Incentive loan and interest subsidy for individual reconstruction and purchase of condominium.
 Most of the disaster afflicted area in the east is in the White Zone (see page33).
 In these areas, people have to reconstruct their houses by their own. Public housing is now under construction in the land filled at the waterfront, the site of relocated industry, and developing new town, because land is easy for the local government to obtain. Most of the low-cost rental housing was supplied in inner area before the earthquake, but it is difficult for them to return to live where they did due to the lack of land for public housing.
 In Nishinomiya, the number of newly built apartments and condominiums has increased. Especially in the east of the damaged urban area, many new condominiums as well as reconstructed ones are developed, and those who live outside the disaster afflicted urban area are moving in. It is because the price is relatively affordable considering high quality image of Hanshinkan residential area and most of them are commuting to Osaka to work.
 On the other hand, private low-cost housing will not be rebuilt. The low-income class and the aged in the inner area will move in public housing, and the land use will change. The composition of population in residential areas is changing.
 There is still a lot of vacant land in the disaster afflicted urban area after three years. Reconstruction has just started in the land readjustment projects and redevelopment project areas in the west of the damaged area.
 It is important that reconstruction in residential areas consider quality of life, and cultural values. The increasing number of houses does not guarantee mean the success of reconstruction.
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