[Report] Press Tour “Driving Force of Kobe’s Revival” Urban Strategies to attract Creative Person:“Biomedical Innovation Cluster” and “City of Design”(Jan. 2013)
Press Tour “Driving Force of Kobe’s Revival” (Kobe City)
Urban Strategies to attract Creative People : “Biomedical Innovation Cluster” and “City of Design”
The tour visited the Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster, the driving power of Kobe’s reconstruction after the Hanshin Awaji Great Earthquake in 1995, to cover RIKEN’s K computer and the clinical research into iPS cells, and look into the city strategy of a “new born” Kobe which comes up with new magnetism and vitality in terms of design.
Eight journalists from China, Germany, Hong Kong, South Korea, Switzerland, and Taiwan, joined this tour.
Press Conference by Kobe Mayor Tatsuo Yada
In this press conference, we were briefed on “Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster”, and “City of Design, Kobe” , which the city has been implementing to revitalize the local economy and bring back vitality since the Hanshin Awaji Great Earthquake. Mayor Yada mentioned that the lessons Kobe learned and the knowledge gained is being utilized in Tohoku, which has also been heavily affected by a disaster, and said “It is our obligation to pass on memories of the disaster to the next generations.”
Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster
Mr. Takashi Miki, Director General of the Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster Promotion Headquarters, briefed on the city’s objectives and efforts to achieve through the Biomedical Innovation Cluster, which includes the city’s economic revitalization, provides advanced medical care in the aging society, and exchanges promotions with Asian countries through medical technologies.
We also visited RIKEN’s research base there, and heard about its regenerative medicine research projects such as usage of ES cells and iPS cells. We also visited another RIKEN’s facility to see the K computer, and were briefed on its development process, and were introduced to some research projects utilizing it.
City of Design, Kobe
Kobe city came up with a new city strategy of “City of Design, Kobe”, which contains people to people bonds and warmth in its communities, life, and manufacturing designs, with disaster reconstruction as its basis.
In this tour, we learned about the outline of this strategy and visited the “Design Creative Center Kobe”, a base facility of its strategy. We also interviewed designers and artists based on this center.
On this theme, we visited Shin-Nagata south area, which has surmounted the tremendous damage brought about by the disaster in 1995, and has livened up again as the town of “Tetsujin” and “The Three Kingdoms.” The tour covered “KOBE Tetsujin PROJECT”, a community revitalization project led by local citizens.
In this area, we walked along shopping street with the stone statues of “Tetsujin” and “The Three Kingdoms” characters placed at every corner, and conduct interviews with shop owners wearing character costumes.
Participants were particularly interested in their project of revitalizing the community with manga and animation characters, as well as the challenges they are facing, marking the 18th anniversary since the disaster.
For “Manufacturing Design”, we visited ASICS, a sporting goods manufacturer founded in Kobe, which has been gathering public attention since the Great East Japan Earthquake, for developing business shoes designed to focus on ease of walking. In this visit, we also covered the frontline of their manufacturing developing process and scenes of footwear testing, as its objective of “aiming at design compatible with sports shoes functionality.”