Supporters Network for Community Development "Machizukuri"
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15) Old Settlement

Toshisada Yamamoto, Regional Planning Institute


Old Settlement Jugobankan destoroyed by eartquake disaster. Now reconstructing
"Kobe old settlement / restoration plan"
 The Old Settlement is an area of about 22 hectares, developed with the plan designed by an English civil engineer in 1868 when the Hyogo port opened.
 Pedestrian walks, street trees, wide avenues with street lamps, parks and sewerage system were provided in the area. The area was neatly divided into blocks of about 1,000 square meters each. The street patterns are still conserved as they were and there has been little change in the way of subdivisions. The original lot numbers are still being used today.
 Between the Taisho Era and the early Showa Era (1912 -1930s), modern Western-style masonry buildings were constructed. Before the earthquake, people started to appreciate solemn and quiet atmosphere of the area again, and the new style of shopping zone was created with many boutiques and restaurants on the first floors of the office buildings. The area was very busy before the earthquake in 1995.
 22 buildings in this area were lost in the earthquake. Many of the severely damaged buildings were built in the Showa 30's (1955 -1964). Four historical buildings that are KAIGAN building (built in 1918), DAIKO building (built in 1919) and MEIKAI building (built in 1920) and JUGOBANKAN (built in 1881) were important cultural assets designated by the city government, and all of them were destroyed.
 Old Settlement Association, which is a group of owners, held an urgent meeting in April and proposed to set up the Reconstruction Committee. It was aimed to cope with the District Plan and to discuss how the area should be in order to keep their position as a center of the business area in the downtown. This Association has been addressing to Machizukuri and preserving the landscape since 1983 when the area was designated as an urban landscape control area based on the Urban Landscape Ordinance by Kobe city.
 In October (1997), the members agreed on the reconstruction plan, and they set up the Machizukuri guidelines. The guidelines show the goal of developing the urban landscape, with the regulation of building line and the creation of common public space on development sites such as "patios", "atriums", "porticos" and "passages".
 Then "Reconstructing Guidelines started to be discussed. It suggests what building owners need to keep in mind when new buildings are constructed or when their buildings are renovated and in management of maintenance. In the discussion, it is often pointed out that individuality of each building should be highly considered.
 They were able to reach an agreement on the guidelines because of their daily communication, the existence of corporate communities and their sentimental attachment to the old townscape with modern architectures. Many members think in common that they had to maintain the traditional identity of the Old Settlement to keep the status as an old central business area in Kobe and to keep and expand their remarkable business development in modern times.
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