Supporters Network for Community Development "Machizukuri"
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2) What is expected at the Kobe Machizukuri Organization Liaison Conference

Katsumoto Nakajima, secretary-general of Kobe Machizukuri Organization Liaison Conference


Establishment of Kobe Machizukuri Organization Liaison Conference
 "Machizukuri" is supposed to be developed step by step, taking 3 to 10 years at least, under ordinary circumstances. The decision to form a "Machizukuri organization", drawing up a construction plan starting with adjustment of infrastructure to realize the machizukuri goals and forming townscape etc,.
 Our "Matsumoto District Machizukuri Organization" was established when Kobe City designated this area which was damaged by Hanshin Awaji Earthquake as a "Land Readjustment Project". Therefore, the procedures progressed so abnormally quickly that only 7 months after the district was designated as the area for a "Land Readjustment Project" the "Machizukuri Proposal" was proposed. "District Planning" was determined in only 3 weeks.
 I think that even though some people who took a cautious attitude bitterly criticized those quick procedures, the only reason we could go ahead without major problems was that the residents have had an eager zeal for the earliest possible restoration.
 The more we learned about the "Land Readjustment Project" which has been put forward under the frame of the existing law, the more we realized in developing this series of activities that this was a cosmetic project and that although it can be a base for the "restoration" which residents desire, we couldn't solve all the problems only with this project. Even if we ask for new support projects, there is a limit for an organization of one district. Although we have attended various liaison conferences, wondering whether we could get something useful with a ray of hope, all liaison conferences were held by certain organizations which had specific purposes and even if they listened to our present reports, we couldn't get anything very useful.
 Then 17 "Machizukuri Organizations" which responded to the appeal by the Architectural Institute of JAPAN, KINKI Branch Environment Conservation Group decided to establish the Kobe Machizukuri Organization Liaison Conference, promoted by Machizukuri Organizations. We felt that we might be able to find a way out. We wanted this conference to start as an independent organization, just by Machizukuri Organizations without being controlled by a group with some specific purposes. This conference started as a liaison conference of thirty three districts on July 24th.
 The main activity of this liaison in the future is to exchange information useful for "Machizukuri". We want to make an effort so that Machizukuri Organizations, which have often functioned only as "groups which demand something for the purpose of earliest possible restoration" can be changed into a "group to do something actually". If we can't change the focus of Machizukuri Organizations from conflict to cooperation, they will become a burden. It is natural that residents with many kinds of situations and people working for government do their best to realize "Machizukuri". But since we, as human beings are not perfect but weak, we can generate much power only by making up deficiencies with each other. We can't guess how much mental stress the leaders who promote "Machizukuri" have and there are some difficulties which only leading members understand. We want to cheer up each other so that the difficulties we have had will not have been for nothing.
 We, who have experienced the Hanshin Awaji Earthquake have learned how wonderful communicating with each other was and how wonderful helping each other was. The important thing from now is to continue developing this communication. There is an old saying that "Out of the counsel of three comes wisdom". Let's communicate! Let's share good ideas! Let's make an effort for the earliest possible restoration!
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