The Industrial City – How infrastructure evolved in favour of the industrial development of the city
The Japanese had demonstrated high resilience by immediately trying to restore some of the basic infrastructure. The decision was initially aimed for military defense, relief of victim and provision of medical aid, however, as transportation was gradually back in service, they had set the basis for reconstruction of the city’s industries.
Immediately after the bombing, trains shuttle between Hiroshima and Saijo, a town in the suburban 32km distant from Hiroshima, which were used to mobilize rescue parties into the city. Railways passing through Hiroshima were restarted by August 18, for instance, the Ujina line between Hiroshima and Ujina was reopened on August 7; the Sanyo line and the truck line between Osaka and Fukuoka were reopened on Aug 8. One-way traffic of streetcar served a short distance of 1.5km in the city centre on August 9. Another two streetcars served between Hiroshima station and Ujina Port via Hijiyama. As Danbara Transformer Substation was protected by a small hill about 70m above sea level, it was emergently repaired and electric power could be distributed for Ujina and Hiroshima Station on August 8 (Ito, 2015).
In order to carry out a more systematic urban planning of Hiroshima for her long-term recover, Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Plan was enacted in 1952, which has set the basis for the city’s urban planning nowadays. Some of the measures include: having a 100m wide boulevard (nowadays as know as Peace Boulevard 平和大通) that runs from the East to the West piercing through the city’s centre for recreational, transpirational and disaster prevention purposes; 27 arterial roads (in total of 63 km) were laid in a grid manner, etc (Hiroshima Prefectural Office). Main roads were widened from 20m to 40m to allow trucks to pass through and prevent traffic congestion (広島都市生活研究会, 1985).
Hiroshima’s postwar economic growth was supported by the heavy industries, namely shipbuilding, automobiles and steel manufacturing that were situated at the coastal region. By 1955, transportation equipment (such as sea vessels and automobiles) accounted for 20.8% of the prefectural production and became the leading industry, which has been the leading industry of Hiroshima until nowadays (Hiroshima Prefectural Office).
Main roads running from the East to the West are usually wider than that running from North to the South. With the railway and later the Shinkansen that connect the East and the West, Hiroshima’s status as the major transportation hub between the East and the West is further strengthened. In fact, Hiroshima Prefecture is an important industrial base in the Pacific Belt. Hiroshima, together with Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Kobe, Osaka (on the East), Kitakyushu and Fukuoka (on the West), form the Tokaido (大都會) megalopolis that are interconnected by municipal railway system. It is said that 77% of the post-war industrial production was concentrated in the Pacific Belt Region, as a result of well-planned port and rail infrastructure that allow proximity of firms to other firms (Sorensen, 2002).
The industrial sector has been zoned at the peripheral of the city out of rational considerations. First, as it was far away from the epicentre of bombing, some of the existing factories, machines and equipment remained functioning. Second, major industrial plants were situated near the coast, where abundant natural resources could be obtained (as huge amount of water is required for heavy industries). Third, even when the roads and railway had not been fully completed, their products could be shipped to the rest of the nation via Ujina Port. Forth, factories shall be separated from the residential area so that residents could be undisturbed by pollutions.
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.
Hiroshima Prefectural Office. History of Hiroshima City Town Planning.
Hiroshima Prefectural Office, Toukei De Miru Hiroshima Sengo Gjyunen No Ayumi [Advances in Hiroshima Prefecture 50 Years after the War from Statistics].Hiroshima Prefecture Planning and Development Department Statistics Section, pp.68-71.
Sorensen, Andre. (2002). The Making of Urban Japan: Cities and Planning from Edo to the Twenty First Century. Routledge.