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Re: SPECIAL vol.8 Attending the “Sanriku Region Machizukuri Symposium” ~Citizen-led Machizukuri and the Government’s Responsibility~
by el joma - Thursday, 24 May 2012, 11:14 PM
Hi Mr. Oyama,

Good evening.

I wanted to share with you some thoughts I gathered over the past week when I first read your post last Friday. I was very fortunate to have joined the first year anniversary meeting of VfF last May 19 and among the many reflections and ideas shared my main take away from that meeting was the discussion on Machizukuri.

Dr. Okada explained that one of the most crippling stumbling blocks being felt on the ground was the coordination of various recovery efforts within and between local, regional or national government offices into one unified, synchronized, and most importantly, Machizukuri-led/validated plan, and subsequently implementing this plan.

While each government office may have the skills, budget and mandate, even a good track record, to do its specialized function, the task of recovery ahead is for the most part unprecedented in both scale and complexity, Dr. Okada continued, and thus ultimately, in the end, communication, coordination, proper planning of recover interventions grounds to turtle's crawl, if not a complete halt.

In this situation, I am thinking then that even previous experiences, conceptions, expectations of Machizukuri-led community planning and development may have taken place in a context different from the current tsunami-recovery context.

Would it now be like a situation of "the blind leading the blind" considering the existence of situation above (the first blind person) and now a Machizukuri-led expectation (the second blind person) but anchored in a different context?

If this is, or will indeed be, the case on the ground, I would like to help to do a Machizukuri-led documentation project. I will research past model cases of Machizukuri-led development done in a disaster recovery context (maybe during the 1995 Kobe earthquake or other recent disasters), culling out the essence of Machizukuri-led participation. If we find something about "extreme-conditions-Machizukuri" and agree on its meaning and significance (and it is written) then maybe it could serve as a guide of sorts to communities in Tohoku who may be grappling to find a response to the problem described by Dr. Okada.

To do this, I need one thing though. I can't read Japanese (yet!) so I will need to work with someone who can so that we can exhaustively cover all information needed.

Thank you and I hope I can join you or any other VfF activity in the disaster-areas as I have not yet had the opportunity to help out on the ground.