Paradigm Shift to Urban Devolution (Machizukuri Kyogikai) Based on “Residents’ Collective Action” in Aging and Shrinking Cities in Japan -Comparison with U.S. Neighborhood Councils

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Soichiro MAEYAMA, Fukuyama City University, Japan
Many cities/ municipalities and localities are struggling against aging and shrinking in Japan. The number of “living-alone" elders’ households is 11% among all households. In addition, many municipalities are suffering budget cuts.

Meanwhile, social experiments have been observed. More than 500 cities among 1,718 all Japanese cities, new system of residential organization named "Machizukuri Kyogikais" have been adopted since the year 2000. They have similar structure and legal settings (creation by ordinances) with Neighborhood Councils in US and Canada, umbrella-organization, comprised of many associations such as PTA, senior clubs, social workers etc. approximately in each elementary-school boundary. It is considered the “urban devolution”, a paradigm shift in urban governance.

Compared to US Neighborhood Councils such as ones in Tacoma (Washington), Birmingham (Alabama) of which focuses are apprehend as “advocacy” to their cities, Japanese Machizukuri Kyogikais put focus on “urban service delivery” by residents. Most of them works for creating or maintaining grassroots-level urban services: collective activities for watching over isolated elders (special luncheon meetings:"Lively Saloon"), as well as for watching over “kids’ walk to/ from schools” by residents).

Focus of this presentation is "how paradigm shift is closely combined with residents' collective action", and "on what kind of social basis the designs of approved neighborhood organizations are set. Comparison-study on Neighborhood Councils of Tacoma and Birmingham in US and Machizukuri Kyogikai of Hiroshima(Japan) will be explored by analyzing the institutional structures and social functions for grasping the coherent aspects and feathers of them. This presentation will be tried for questing ideas and ways for social functions of “neighborhoods”, “communities” in aging societies.


・Ostrom, V., & Bish, R. L., 1977, Comparing urban delivery systems, Sage
・Maeyama, S., 2017, Basic Study on New “Machizukuri Kyogikai” (Japanese-style Neighborhood Council) Movement and Its Inherent Functions in Japan since 2000, Urban Management No.9