Kizuna - From Disaster to Sustainable Civil Society: The. Kobe Experience

Y Tsunehiro, K Goda, R Shaw

Research output: Book/ReportAuthored book


This book contains four chapters. Chapter 1 (Introduction) describes the background of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, and its damages. Chapter 2 (People’ Rehabilitation Plan) describes the major problems during the rehabilitation process, and possible solutions. Chapter 3 (Kobe Action Plan) states the details of the action plan for future community rehabilitation, while in Chapter 4, Future Needs of the action plan implementation are described. In Appendix 1, a case study from the Nishi Suma area is stated, and in Appendix 2, the interviews of temporary shelter are described in terms of victims’ voices. After the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake of 1995, local governments, in cooperation with other agencies put their efforts on the rehabilitation program, and the physical part of the rehabilitation was completed within 3 years. However, a major task remained, which was the social rehabilitation, involving the livelihood and living condition of the people. After the earthquake, two major changes were observed in Kobe: increase of the activities of NGOs, and increased cooperation between the local government and the local associations. To focus on the social rehabilitation, three major themes were suggested: community building and planning, alternative livelihood, and living safely in the community. Specific problems were identified in each theme, and solutions were suggested for concrete actions. It was strongly suggested that people should be taken in the decision making process for solving the housing issues. In most of the cases, it was observed that people’s living place and work place were different, which was considered as the major cause for weakening of community bonds. To overcome this problem, the base of livelihood should be placed in the community. A culture of community participation should be developed including all age-groups of the community. Aiming to transfer the lessons to the future generation, the Kobe Action Plan was formulated for enhancing community capacities and knowledge to cope with future disasters. The Kobe Action Plan was a product of joint efforts of different stakeholders after the earthquake. The Action Plan has three sections: livelihood and community, development of people’s activities, and formation of sustainable civil society. The actions for unifying livelihood and community focused on community creation, community welfare and community business. It was suggested that livelihood bases should be placed within the community, and the community should find proper place for community activities. Community decision-making was considered as an important tool, and creation of community business was found important to provide livelihood alternatives to the community. Training and capacity building of community was another focus area, which should be developed indigenously. A service center should be established, and a community fund should be created for the sustainable activities. It was found important to establish a strong relationship with the local business community. Education, and public relation were other aspects, which needed further emphasis.
Translated title of the contributionKizuna - From Disaster to Sustainable Civil Society: The. Kobe Experience
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUnited Nations Center for Regional Development
Number of pages95
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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