Hiroshima (1949-1966)/ The Effect of Post-War Housing Shortage on Tange’s Extended Park Plan

Housing demand was a large issue for the Japanese government with a massive housing shortage of 4.2 million units and on top of this was 20 thousand units of housing for families of the Allied forces’ officers.

Kenzo Tange’s detailed plan for the Central Park (Chuo Park) just north of the designated area of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was taken favourably by Hiroshima’s City Administration you can see in the translation of Tange’s plan into the plan devised by Hiroshima’s Planning Division of the Construction Bureau. However, the city council did not officially require Tange to design Chuo Park as part of his Peace Park proposal. Thus were Tange’s Chuo Park proposals only adopted when and where convenient for the city in terms of financial issues. 

In Hiroshima, the citizen’s reconstruction of houses was limited to the edges of the main roads while areas destructed by fire were temporarily used for agricultural uses. Part of Chuo Park was one of the areas where citizens were reconstructing housing (Figure 1).

Temporary housing in the Motomachi District around 1949  Hiroshima Prefecture and City of Hiroshima in 1978 © Commemorative Book for Motomachi District Redevelopment Project, March 1979, p.11.
Figure 1: Temporary housing in the Motomachi District around 1949 Hiroshima Prefecture and City of Hiroshima in 1978 © Commemorative Book for Motomachi District Redevelopment Project, March 1979, p.11.

In 1945, the Hiroshima Prefecture and Hiroshima City Council initiated the construction of residential housing through the residential corporation. By 1946, only 392 houses were built by this effort.

Due to the dire shortage of housing in Hiroshima, the city allocated about 70 hectares of Central park as a residential area (Figure 2) on which temporary public housing was built, inevitably creating coexistence between the residential area and the park. Implementation of the housing area left only 40 hectares to the park area and therefore made it impossible to realise Tange’s plan.

Public and illegal housing site map in the Motomachi District around 1966, drawn © Hiroshima Prefecture and the City of Hiroshima in 1978, Commemorative Book for Motomachi District Redevelopment Project, 1979, p.6.
Figure 2: Public and illegal housing site map in the Motomachi District around 1966, drawn © Hiroshima Prefecture and the City of Hiroshima in 1978, Commemorative Book for Motomachi District Redevelopment Project, 1979, p.6.

Reference:

NORIOKI ISHIMARU. DR. (2012). Changes in Planning Zone of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Proposed by Kengo Tange and Their Significance. 15th IPHS CONFERENCE.

1 Comment on “Hiroshima (1949-1966)/ The Effect of Post-War Housing Shortage on Tange’s Extended Park Plan

  1. There is the similar problem of housing shortage in both Hiroshima and Tokyo in post war era, where it is much more magnified in Hiroshima by the greater casualties. I think the poor government policy-making should take responsibility for the lack of planning development, resulting in a congested patchwork of residential blocks. However, with Japan blooming from rapid economic growth and strong industrial development, there is little effect reflected in Hiroshima. This might have something to do with the geographical disadvantage and post-war land reconstruction.

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