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3. Collective Housing Arrangements in Disaster Restoration Public Housing Facilities

 Since many of the households, who are to move into Disaster Restoration Public Housing (that is, the temporary housing residents) consisted of either elderly couples or single elderly adults, the public housing units like those that had existed before the quake would not adequately meet the needs of the prospective residents. Although the City of Kobe was facing the difficult post-quake challenge of having to provide large quantities of housing in a short period of time, it investigated and implemented several housing options that would meet the needs of its residents. Collective housing was one of these options.
 The impetus for the idea of collective housing arrangements in public housing units came from the "local" temporary housing units. Local temporary housing units in Kobe contributed to the maintenance of the lifestyles and residential environments of disabled senior citizens. In Ashiya, they provided special temporary housing for the elderly with common areas and personalized support to their residents, thereby creating a more comfortable temporary living situation.
 While such arrangements were necessary for elderly earthquake victims, they also served as effective models of how to manage public housing in a rapidly aging society. Studies are thus being conducted on how to implement collective housing based on the developmental model of the local temporary housing units.
 As voluntary aid services for elderly earthquake victims in restored areas are being implemented, and as the struggle to solve their housing and living problems continues, voices have emerged promoting the necessity and efficiency of collective housing. The Collective Housing Promotion Assistance Association held its first meeting in September 1995 led by Ms Ishito. It was a group of collective housing proponents from many different fields that developed timely and meaningful activities in support of collective housing.
 Specific studies to implement collective housing were conducted by the Collective Housing Research Association. Comprised of the Ministry of Construction, the Housing and Urban Development Corporation, the Kobe City Housing Corporation, the City of Kobe, as well as Ms Ishito and Mr Kobayashi, the association had its first of six meetings in September 1995 (Hyogo Prefecture also joined the proceedings later). The group examined the possibilities for collective housing arrangements in public housing facilities and explored model projects.
 After this, in 1996, the Mano Collective Housing Research Association chaired by Mr Miyanishi was formed, and included such members as Professor Endou of Chiba University and Ms Ishito. This group conducted feasibility studies on developing a model project within the emergency temporary housing facilities in Kobe in the Mano area. Workshops were held for residents and community development association members of the Mano area, and studies on the logistical and social aspects of the community such as planning, design, management, living arrangements, and local events were conducted. The results of these studies were compiled into the Hamazoe Community Collective Housing Plan, which is specific in this area, and served as the driving force for implementing new activities.

Mano Interactive Housing (Collective Housing Hamazoe)

 The Mano Interactive Housing complex, which is the first public collective housing of Kobe, lies in the heart of Kobe's Mano district, one of the city's most advanced areas in terms of resident-led community development. With a site area of 1,214m2 and a floor area of 2,508m2, the complex is a 3-story reinforced concrete structure with 29 living units with social service called LSA. Of these, 21 are designated for senior citizens and 8 for other households. The 200m2 of common space in the complex is used for dining rooms, kitchens, sitting rooms, living rooms, storage space, and restroom.
 The Mano Interactive Housing complex offers several design features that distinguish it from standard public housing. The low-rise partitioned structure of the building fits in well with the overall atmosphere of the Mano district of mixed land use area with high density. Its southern lane, with places along the roadside where people can gather and talk, is an attempted recreation of the lanes in the old wooden tenement housing districts that served as fire-breaks during the earthquake. Many of these design ideas were suggested by Mano temporary housing residents or community development association members at the workshops held on collective housing.
 Since the Mano Interactive Housing complex is a Disaster Restoration Public Housing facility, its residents were chosen by public application. However, since the law prohibited the final selection of residents before the complex was designed, workshops could only be held among "prospective residents". Still, thanks to the skilled leadership of Prof. Endou and the strength of tradition in Mano community development, these workshops were quite fruitful.

Introduction of a group transfer system

 Strong teamwork among residents is essential for collective housing facilities to run smoothly. During the public application process, representatives of the Collective Housing Promotion Assistance Association visited temporary housing facilities to fully explain the purposes and unique characteristics of collective living, and introduced a group transfer system so that relationships that had sprouted among neighbors at temporary housing facilities could be nurtured and maintained in collective housing situations.
 Applications for residency were accepted as of February 27, 1997. Sixty-eight applications were received for the 29 units, resulting in a 2.3:1 ratio of applications to available units. There were five group applications consisting of a total of 24 individuals. The application rate was not as high as expected, perhaps because the complex was not publicized very heavily. After final selections were made, 70% of the prospective residents were over 60 years of age, and 48% were over 70. The oldest residents were 89 (male) and 87 (female). Since the complex could not be occupied until January 1998, pre-occupancy workshops were held in the time leading up to the occupancy date. At the seven pre-occupancy gatherings, the first of their kind to be held at a public housing facility, prospective tenants met to chat and have tea together, to create a newsletter, to establish rules for community living, and to decide on the furnishings needed for the common areas.
 Currently in the disaster stricken region, collective housing has been instituted at seven Hyogo prefectural public housing complexes (232 units) and at one Kobe municipal public housing facility (29 units). While some of these complexes can certainly be said to be taking advantage of the collective housing lifestyle for which they were designed, the experiment has only just gotten underway. It will take some time before it will be possible to evaluate whether collective housing will be a useful tool for improving urban living in Japan.
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