The Industrial City – Industrial/ economic considerations are prioritised in the urban planning over the pose of “peace memorial city”

There was clearly an urgent need for the city to be recovered as quickly as possible from a piece of rubbles right after the bombing. The entire nation had come to the consensus that promoting economic growth was the first priority and thus most resources were invested strategically in developing heavy industries (such as steel, petrochemicals and shipbuilding). The country had decided to develop her economy  with heavy and chemical industries because these industries could create most job opportunities, allowing citizens to earn higher income and enjoy more consumer goods, thus their basic survival could be guarantee and hopefully their quality of life could be improved.

The central government granted free land, exempted property tax (temporarily) and invested in building local infrastructure to encourage the expansion of new industries. Substantial amount of public investment was made in reconstructing roads, ports, railways and land reclamation (Sorensen, 2002). The local government convinced local landlords to assemble large piece of land and sold them to tenants to build new facilities. The former military facilities of the Allied Powers were sold or rented to private companies, for instance, Kanawajima Plant of Army Transport Department was sold to Hiroshima Shipyard of Mitsubishi Heavy industry; Kure Naval Arsenal was sold to Amagasaki Steel, Harima shipbuilding, Nichia Steel and NBC (an american capital company). All former military institutions were transferred to the private section by 1948 (Ito, 2015). High-handed approach was adopted when necessary to overcome local opposition in order to acquire sufficient land for industrial expansion. 

The reconstruction plan (including the design of road networks and green areas) of Hiroshima was finalised in September 1946, as a result of combining and extracting from many proposals collected from the civic society (広島都市生活研究会,1985). Despite the fact that Kenzo Tange’s proposal for the Peace Memorial Park was adopted by the Reconstruction Council, his master plan for the city “Peace Park Project” was rejected. In July 1951 CIAM8 meeting, Tange presented his proposal “The Heart of the City”, in which the core, Peace Memorial Park, shall be expanded and connected with Central Park, with an array of cultural facilities and children’s centres incorporated in between the two parks, as he thinks children symbolise the future of the city (Sendai, 2013).

Reconstruction Plan and Land Use Plan proposed by Kenzo Tange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nevertheless, the ultimate planning for the city centre may have differed from what Tange had imagined: Motomachi (Central Town that includes Central Park and Hiroshima Castle) is zoned for commercial use. Nowadays, it still acts as the city centre where shopping malls, banks, hotels are erected, along side with parks, institutions and museums. Apparently, economic development is the common goal that drives the city’s recovery, as commerce has been chosen as the core of the city. Moreover, I think the Reconstruction Council has made effort in striving economic development while ensuring a certain amount of quality green areas in Motomachi, by keeping Tange’s proposal for the Peach Memorial Park and Central Park.

 The adopted reconstruction plan in 1952

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ito, T. (2015). Reconstruction of Hiroshima Industry 1945-1960. 地域経済研究: 広島大学大学院社会科学研究科附属地域経済システム研究センター紀要, (26), 3-15.

Sorensen, Andre. (2002). The Making of Urban Japan: Cities and Planning from Edo to the Twenty First Century. Routledge.

Sendai, Shoichiro. (2013). Conception of Hiroshima Peace Park Project by Kenzo Tange. 日本建築學會計劃系論文集. Vol 78, No. 693.

広島都市生活研究会. (1985)『広島被爆40年史―都市の復興』広島市企画調整局文化担当

1 Comment on “The Industrial City – Industrial/ economic considerations are prioritised in the urban planning over the pose of “peace memorial city”

  1. You mentioned that Kenzo Tange’s “Peace Park Project” was rejected. It is reasonable for Hiroshima to have prioritized economic growth over the improvement in social life. Although “Peace Park Project” can act as children’s centre and cultural facilities there could have offered the future of the city, the children, a better quality of life, by zoning the area for commercial use, economic growth can be ensured, and thus, quality of life of the general public can also be improved. It is true that there is a need for more parks and open space to let the residents enjoy more fruitful and interactive livelihood, these could come after a certain level of economic growth. It would be interesting if there would be a project that favours both.

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