企画書・概要 (Abstract of Project Proposal)
Building up and maintaining local capacity depend naturally on the self-governing of people, but they also depend much on supports from the outside, on the social circumstances and on the appropriateness of people's decisions themselves. In early modern, people in Kiryu in Gumma prefecture (one of the key industrial spots in Japan, including Isesaki and Ashikaga of Northern Kanto and Hachioji of West Tokyo as well as Toyota in Aich prefecture) had textile technology as high as Nishijin's, operating about 150 water wheels once only in its Shinshuku and Sakaino areas for thread twisting. They had a strong endogenous capacity having installed factories, railroads and a textile college all by themselves. After WWII, they steered their business to cheaper products, which brought them into total decline. This is quite in contrast to Nishijin which has been maintaining their status so far by sticking to high-quality products. These imply that once miss-defining and misjudging the future, even a strong local autonomous capacity has to decline.
Now that we are in the time to revisit renewable energy utilization for getting rid of global warming, these rural towns of rich water resources have a chance to reconstruct themselves as a "water city", redefining their potential for the sustainable future, including their urban renovation for green tourism, like Lowel, Ma. of United States.
In this research, we organize a university-local people collaboration to unveil the past achievements in water utilization and their endogenous urban development in the early modern period through actor network analysis and to conduct a conceptual design for the rebirth of a once active local city into a "sustainable water city" with a new self-definition of their role for the future. This project also aims at making the process of research a process of building up local actors' endogenous capacity for the urban rebirth, of which people will become proud at home and abroad as one of the precedent case of actions against global warming.