Supporters Network for Community Development "Machizukuri"
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5. Kobe Housing Exposition

 The Kobe Housing Exposition was established by the City of Kobe to help people rebuild their homes. Its activities range from the provision of general housing information, to drawing up model housing plans that match certain site specifications, and introducing individuals to housing manufacturers and contracting firms. Other activities include consultation services on legal issues relating to land and structures and advisement on using land for apartment buildings or other rental housing. Co-sponsored by the Kobe City Housing Corporation and the City of Kobe, with the support of the Ministry of Construction and the Housing Loan Corporation, the organization has gathered the strength of all the sectors involved in housing reconstruction and community development such as private housing manufacturing, contracting, design, and consulting.
 The exposition has provided timely help and advice on private housing reconstruction activities since immediately after the earthquake. Established as one of the measures for providing "residential reconstruction that is fully linked to commercial reconstruction" that was included in the Emergency Three-Year Plan for Housing Reconstruction, the Kobe Housing Exposition was designed as follows:

Kobe Housing Exposition


1) Low-Rise Housing Section

 According to totals calculated at the end of September 1997, 15,859 consultations took place at the housing manufacturers' booths, from which 708 contracts were settled. The exhibition hall, showroom, and the housing manufacturers' consulting booths where the public could discuss their particular circumstances and could actually experience showcased housing types were successful as anticipated, as were the general consultation services offered for discussing financing, legal, and tax issues. Teams of architects and CAD operators created original plans based on detailed discussions with visitors, and of 1,387 consultations that took place under the Homebuild Assistance System for linking construction to local contracting firms, 32 contracts were concluded.

2) Multi-family Housing Section

 As of March 1998, this section had been consulted on 609 cases. Of the 113 cases in which land use plans, that introduced what kind of multi-family housing project could be available on the owned land, were drafted, and 40 plans were finalized. Condominium building plans accounted for about half of the cases (289), while collaborative reconstruction (38) and condominium reconstruction (18) accounted for many others.

3) Block Coordination Section

 As of February 1998, this section had been consulted on 79 cases. Of the 29 cases in which plans were drafted, 8 plans were implemented. The collaborative reconstruction plan for Nada Minami Doori 5-Chome began receiving support at the same time the exposition opened, and although this was a relatively small example of a collaborative effort by only three parties, it served to show the achievements of the exposition to people around the world. This section performed various services, ranging from support for community development association activities in areas such as Midoro and Higashi Kawasaki, to cooperation on replotting plan for land readjustment projects and the organization of local consultation sessions and study meetings.
 After the exposition opened, the number of visitors to the sites declined over time, but the importance of events held in various local communities grew. Exposition activities, as well as locally integrated events, such as the Takatori Higashi Model House Opening and the Rokkomichi Station Reconstruction Festival Housing Meeting, grew increasingly important.
 Since the exposition was held at a property near Kobe City Hall that was leased for a three year period from the national government, the length of the exposition was limited from the outset to a three year term. The private companies that participated in the exposition worked hard to achieve results in this short time. Since the exposition had opened amidst concerns over whether the needs of earthquake victims for housing reconstruction could be adequately met, the success of the exposition was less than certain.
 Now that it is over, however, many are applauding the results that were achieved. In order for housing to be reconstructed on the many empty lots that remain in the stricken downtown areas, and for true recovery in Kobe to be achieved, it is now, three years after the quake, that an organization that can play the role formerly played by the Kobe Housing Exposition is most needed.
 The exposition's Shin-Nagata site is continuing its activities under a new name, the Housing Reconstruction Consultation Center. Now, however, it is a public organization managed by the Kobe City Housing Corporation and funded by public funds from the national government and the City of Kobe. It is sincerely hoped that it will develop into an organization that utilizes both public and private sector resources, as did the Kobe Housing Exposition.
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