Hiroshima – Initial City Planning after the Bombing (1946)

The reconstruction efforts began swiftly after the bombing. On the day of the atomic bombing, 6th August 1949, rescue operations began immediately and rations were disposed to the citizens. A few days later, urban infrastructure such as trains, electricity and water supply began to recover, and temporary houses were constructed. However, there was need for a more comprehensive plan to recover the city after the bombing incident.

Fig.1: Hiroshima Reconstruction City Planning Map (1946). Source: Learning from Hiroshima’s Reconstruction Experience: Reborn from the Ashes. Report. March 2014. https://www.pref.hiroshima.lg.jp/uploaded/attachment/164444.pdf.

In 1946, a construction plan was drawn up by the Hiroshima government under the new Hiroshima City Construction Council. It had been discussed in the Council the new direction of Hiroshima as a city symbolizing world peace.

The first step was road planning, where Council and City Planning Commission drew up a plan for the road networks of the city in September of 1946. Instead of being tabula rasa, the roads were partly based on the road systems of the past, using the pre-war road system as a base and then adding on new transport routes. As a result, they made up a grid system which connected commercial and residential districts to the industrial. Notable routes include the 100m wide road which runs through the centre of the city from east to west, which was later renamed the Peace Boulevard; other major roads were 40m, 36m, 20m and 10m in width.

Fig.2: Planning Map of Road Network (1946). Source: Learning from Hiroshima’s Reconstruction Experience: Reborn from the Ashes. Report. March 2014. https://www.pref.hiroshima.lg.jp/uploaded/attachment/164444.pdf.

Another decision was the planning of parks and green areas in the reconstruction process. Proposed during the 40th Meeting of the City Planning Commission in October 1946, the international standards of park development were acknowledged by Teizo Takeshige, Director of the City Planning Division of Hiroshima Prefecture. In the plan, Hiroshima consisted of 3 large parks, 4 green areas, and 40 small parks. Riverbank green belts were also planned to “beautify the waterfront city.” The rising emphasis on development of key green areas is one of the reasons leading to the curation of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Design Competition to be held in 1949.

Fig.3: Planning Map of Park Areas (1946). Source: Learning from Hiroshima’s Reconstruction Experience: Reborn from the Ashes. Report. March 2014. https://www.pref.hiroshima.lg.jp/uploaded/attachment/164444.pdf.

 

Bibliography:

Hein Carola, Diefendorf Jeffry M, Yorifusa Ishida, “Reconstructing Hiroshima and Preserving the Reconstructed City”. In Rebuilding Urban Japan After 1945, 87-107. Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

History of Hiroshima City Town Planning. http://www.city.hiroshima.lg.jp/www/contents/1121928937391/html/common/other/52e7672b010.pdf.

Learning from Hiroshima’s Reconstruction Experience: Reborn from the Ashes. Report. March 2014. https://www.pref.hiroshima.lg.jp/uploaded/attachment/164444.pdf.

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