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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Reconstructing Kobe

The Geography of Crisis and Opportunity

The Hanshin Earthquake was the largest disaster to affect postwar Japan and one of the most destructive postwar natural disasters to strike a developed country. Although the media focused on the disaster’s immediate effects, the long-term reconstruction efforts have gone largely unexplored. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, David Edgington records the first ten years of reconstruction and recovery and asks whether planners successfully exploited opportunities to make a more sustainable and disaster-proof city. This book is an intricate investigation of one of the largest redevelopment projects in recent memory.

328 pages

Table of Contents


1 Introduction

2 Earthquakes and Urban Reconstruction

2.1 The Problem of Post-Disaster Reconstruction

2.2 Japanese Planning and Administrative Practice

3 Kobe and the Hanshin Earthquake

3.1 Kobe up to the Time of the Earthquake

3.2 The Geography of Crisis

4 The Planning and Reconstruction Response

4.1 Actions Taken by the National Government

4.2 Actions Taken by Local Government

5 Protest, Participation, and the Phoenix Plan

5.1 The Citizens’ Protest

5.2 The City’s Response and the Commencement of "Machizukuri" Planning

5.3 The Phoenix Reconstruction Plan

5.4 Review by the National Government

6 Neighbourhood Case Studies

6.1 Shin-Nagata in Western Kobe

6.2 Moriminami in Eastern Kobe

7 Symbolic Projects and the Local Economy

7.1 Funding for the Symbolic Projects

7.2 Kobe’s Economy and the Plight of Small Firms

7.3 The Chemical Shoes Industry

7.4 Attracting New Industries and Firms

7.5 The Kobe Airport and the City’s Debt

8 Conclusion

8.1 Was the Ten-Year Reconstruction Plan Successful?

8.2 What Were the Major Influences on Kobe’s Reconstruction?

8.3 The Geographies of Crisis and Opportunity

8.4 Lessons for Japanese Cities

8.5 Are There Lessons for Other Cities?




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