Generational Divide Opens Gap in Post-Tsunami Planning

The Economist looks at the generational gap that is hampering efforts to rebuild tsunami-stricken communities in Japan, as the elderly favor restoring what was lost as soon as possible, and the young seek sustainable revitalization.

Japan's aging population has been a concern of the country's officials and planners since long before the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck north-eastern Japan. Now, the wishes of an elderly population that is "richer, more risk-averse and more powerful than the young," are pitted against younger generations (and the central government) in determining how tsunami-stricken communities will be rebuilt. 

"The central government still hopes that rebuilding stricken areas can be a blueprint for revitalisation of ageing communities elsewhere in Japan. It is allowing innovative places to become 'special zones' that are light on regulation and heavy on such new ideas as smart energy grids and high-density living. The implication is that those who simply want to restore what was lost may not get generous treatment. Yet officials acknowledge that the elderly have a lot of voting power in Japan, and are hard to boss about."

"Finding compromises on such fraught social issues is key to the rebuilding, which suggests that it will remain painstakingly slow."

Full Story: Generational warfare

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
Women's t-shirt with map of Los Angeles

City T-Shirts for the ladies!

Women's Supersoft CityFabric© Fashion Fit Tees. Now available in six different cities.
$24.00
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET