Postdisaster Urban Recovery: 20 Years of Recovery of Kobe

Michiko Banba, Rajib Shaw

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


Twenty years after the Hanshin Awaji earthquake struck in 1995, the infrastructure and buildings of the city of Kobe have been rebuilt and revitalized. Although there was some damage to agricultural and fishing villages, most of the damage occurred in the city and its outskirts, so that Hanshin Awaji earthquake is characterized as an urban disaster. The characteristics of the recovery of Kobe from Hanshin Awaji Earthquake include creative recovery (also called reconstruction), city planning measures, public involvement, industrial recovery, and life recovery. The term creative recovery means to rebuild Kobe as a leading city in the modern world, not just bringing it back to what it was. This recovery was achieved by land readjustment and urban redevelopment projects; associations organized for the purpose of promoting regional development by citizens played an important role. Such organizations direct the recovery of towns and cities through consensus building among citizens. Measures for industrial recovery include the revitalization of small businesses and stores, new industry development, and special zones for structural reform to support a wide range of businesses to give people jobs and revitalize the city. Life recovery to support victims by programs for community development or mental care has grown in importance after the devastation of Kobe. Thus, the city's recovery has been achieved through public involvement in the process of recovery and concrete measures for sustainable development.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Disasters and Resilience in Asia
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780128021699
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 22
Externally publishedYes


  • Community development
  • Earthquake
  • Reconstruction projects
  • Urban disaster

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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