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17. Reconstruction of Local Industries in Mixed Urban Districts

〈article 1718)〉

Image of Shoes Gallery
 On the process of industrial reconstruction in disaster afflicted area, port facilities, big scale manufacturers, and midtown business and commerce can be restored with the effect of reconstruction of infrastructure and other facilities. Local industries such as synthetic shoes, small markets and retail shops, however, are having hard time to recover unless the residents come back to live in the area, even though their facilities are reconstructed. Both the residential recovery and the rebuilding of small business networks are necessary for total restoration especially in the inner area.
 In the synthetic shoe industry as one of the typical Kobe local industries, manufacturing processes are divided among small size enterprises. As soon as one process is done, the products are brought to the nearby factory of the next processor. In this sense, whole area is like a big factory. It is necessary for these small factories to locate in proximity to each other, and to their labor force.
 70% of the Nagata synthetic shoe industry were reported to have begun manufacturing within 3 months of the earthquake. The number of applicants for temporary rental workplace in the area was more than 10 times those the available, but it was only a little bit more than 100% for the rental units which is located out of the area. Production efficiency cannot be maintained unless one stays in the area. Both local industry and residents depend upon each other in this area.
 The synthetic shoes industry, in fact, was faced with the economical difficulties and was losing competitiveness to imported products from developing countries including China. In Shin-Nagata Station North Area, in order to develop the new shoe manufacturing systems, the new idea of a shoe marketing and promotion program has been discussed with the consultant. Then, "Shoes Gallery Town" is planned under the concept of Ethnic Town as the part of the community development plan within the Land Readjustment plan.
 Many of markets and retail stores reopened soon after the disaster, which was encouraging for the sufferers. The population of the area, however, decreased because homes were destroyed. Small businesses suffered, as there is few consumers. Unlike regional businesses such as department stores and large supermarkets, local market and retail stores need local residents as consumers. Many small family businesses had already declined even before the disaster due to no successor for the business, competition with large scale shopping stores, and failure to meet consumers needs. Under such severe circumstances, new type of economic development is also being tried in restoration process.
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