A Study of a Regeneration of Urban Commons Through the Nature Friendly River Management and 'Finding Home Place'

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"The Nature Friendly River Management: NFRM is the present guideline of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan. It considers biota well growth environment a river originally has; conservation and creation of various natural landscapes; contemplation of the nature of the entire stream; and harmony with peoples lives, history and culture in the region. Some of the rivers in rural areas have been successfully restored by NFRM, and they help regenerate commons of the region. Zempuku-ji River, running through the central part of Tokyo, has been restored by NFRM, but restoration of the urban river seems not an easy challenge. Since urban rivers have been modified and yielded so much to man-made environments, people do not have many chances to closely feel and touch their local ecosystems. Although citizens participation is critically important process to build a consensus in order to lead a successful NFRM, not many people pay attention to urban rivers. This study focuses on two thoughts which use words Furusato or Home Place to share with various people. First, Ernest Callenbach, the author of ECOTOPIA, suggested that cities can be much more ecological and awareness of a sense of 'Home Place' is the first important step for city people to understand urban ecology. Second, Toshio Kuwako, a philosopher, proposes a method of 'Finding Home Place', a work shop in the field to lead participants to rediscover the historical and cultural values as well as problems of the region through it. A citizens group has been engaging to NFRM activities along Zempuku-ji River. There participate civil engineers, university professors and students, ecological and environmental activity groups and local community. This study examines NFRM in an urban river from two viewpoints of 'Home Place' to see whether their approaches are effective paths to regenerate urban commons."



urban commons, rivers, water management, IASC