Geographical Mismatch of Temporary Housings

Had there been some assistance for the construction of private temporary housing on private lots and temporary repairs, residents would not have had to leave their original town and the local communities would not have been fragmented.

The administrative bodies did not accept cooperation from the residents in obtaining land for temporary housing. They willingly purchased lots in the to-be-redeveloped or to-be-rezoned areas but gave little consideration to the potentiality of other lots. There were many small lots available for temporary housing in the inner city area. It was, however, actually made infeasible for temporary housing to be built on a private lot by a strict condition set up in response to the demand from people for the construction of temporary housing on a private site. It required ten or more housing units to be built on a single lot (in the case of Kobe city), despite the fact that the Public Housing Law states that the building of two or more housing units on one lot can be recognized as publicly beneficial.

The administrative bodies, intently demanding large sites, built temporary housing estates in suburban areas. As a result of such policy totally dominating the pursuit of public temporary housing, residents were shunned from their "home town".

Table 1 and 2 clearly show the situation. The provision of temporary housing in the central urban areas, where damage was very severe, only reached 4.3% (2.2% in Nagata) of the number of totally or partially collapsed houses, with the exception of artificial islands. It was only 6.8% of even the number of, what the administrative bodies call, "uninhabitable houses". Even with the number of those built on the artificial islands added, the former increased merely to 11.9% and the latter to 18.7%.

On the other hand, the provision was almost 1,500% in the two suburban wards. The number of temporary housing units in the two wards combined exceeded that in seven inner-city wards all combined.

Putting the Weak in Suburban Districts

Moreover the logic that "the weak such as the aged and the disabled should be given relief as soon as possible", which sounded so fair in such an abnormal situation, relegated the weak to suburban areas as a result.

Priority was placed on weak people to move into the temporary housing, constructed one after another in suburban areas and on manmade islands, while a relatively young generation remained in the inner city area being unable to leave their original place due to their business or working condition. The community, in which people had enjoyed communication and reciprocity, and were supported by a neighborhood caring system of "medicine, employment and living", was shattered, isolating the weak people.

This is the result of too much temporary-housing-oriented policy and a geographic mismatch of temporary housing.

The Conception of "Temporary Town" -- Learning from the Great Earthquake

The Metropolis of Tokyo and the City of Shizuoka sent their officials to inspect the post-Great-Hanshin-Earthquake reconstruction process to reflect the experiences in their disaster risk management plans.

Tokyo's plan is based on the "Temporary Town" to reconstruct the disaster-stricken areas with the disaster-hit residents staying in the districts. In the background, there is an awareness that it is necessary for the victims to stay in their long-lived area for a smooth reconstruction. The idea is to first make the best use of what can be used, then supplement the insufficiency with temporary housing. What is repairable should not be demolished but should be provisionally used, and vacant units in public housing and private rental housing should be also provided. It is also effective in a situation where it is hard to secure land.

An experiment for the "Temporary Town" with houses, shops, medical care, welfare, and educational institutions has already been performed. With the ideal that "a whole local community stays as it is when moved to the place of refuge", importance is put on community-based disaster prevention and on the principle of justice on a community-unit basis. The parties concerned precisely point out that the weak are supported by a local community and it is a mistake to give them priority to move to temporary housing in remote areas.

Similarly, the City of Shizuoka has set the "Fujinokuni Plan for Housing Reconstruction", aiming at the in situ housing rebuilding. It is a result of close observation of problems in the reconstruction process after the Great Hanshin Earthquake, such as the use of temporary housing for an extended period and regional disparities in the housing reconstruction achievement. They are also considering to establish a system to transfer temporary housing.



(KURODA Tatsuo)