Nara Machizukuri Center


"Machizukuri" means community development activities for improving existing urban fabric in Japanese. Nara Machizukuri Center Incorporated Association is an NPO organized by citizen's activities in Nara, one of the UNESCO world heritage sites in Japan. It has been active for more than 20 years since its founding to conserve historic urban areas and to improve historic environments in Nara prefecture through the process of citizen's participation.

With many of its members'direct participation we have been dealing with various projects:
1. Revaluating the advantages of historic urban spaces in our town
2. Revitalizing our town by making better use of historical resources
3. Linking with the Yamato (the old name of Nara) Machizukuri Network which aims at making a linkage with many environmental conservation activities in Nara Prefecture
4. Linking with international network for conservation movements (AWPNUC: Asia and West Pacific Network for Urban Conservation)
5. Conducting a project to prepare the basis for citizens' participation and to awaken citizen's interest for their towns.

Naramachi Historic Conservation Area (Left-side Shophouse: Monogatari-kan)

Nara Machizukuri Center General Meeting


Our urban conservation has extended into "Move"Serial Seminar on Yamato's Landscape" and a "Landscape and Scenery Symposium" which were further succeeded by activities such as a "Meeting to Discuss about the renovation of the Nara Station Building" and a "Project for Creating a Database on Yamato's Landscape and Scenery".

Also our "Movement to Regenerate Wooden Living Culture" has achieved a successful result of our establishment of the Naramachi Monogatari-kan (or Story Telling House in Nara Historic Town) and was succeeded by activities of our "Network for Technical Experts of Yamato Urban Conservation". And at the "Seminar for Housing / Consulting Desk for Housing and Nursing Care" supported by the Network for Technical Experts, the experts set the information counter for answering various questions on housing and urban conservation in which all the people including disables and aged persons can keep on living together by removing barriers.

Various other activities are further generated by the establishment of Naramachi Monogatari-kan which was built by restoring a traditional shophouse. :Monogatari-kan" is widely opened to all the citizens and tourists. The establishment of "Nara NPO Salon" and our library called "Yu" (or playing) are still being encouraged for exchanges among citizens. And by promoting a "Learning Community Planning" for wide ranging people from children to seniors, many people are visiting Naramachi today.

These newly generated activities are being a main pillar of the Nara Machizukuri Center which are supported by wide-ranging participation of the citizens, students, scholars, technical experts and corporate men full of voluntary will. In addition to these activities, those of the facilitators and artists who gather at the Monogatar-kan are being the main factors to encourage not only our Monogatari-kan but also Naramachi itself.

As mentioned above, it can be said that the activities of the Nara Machizukuri Center had series of successes for conservation of the historic environment. Nara Machizukuri Center as a citizen's sector always tries to work with local society to seek for solutions of their own subjects and to make suggestions for communities. We have to make a stronger platform for much more citizens to involve, to discuss, and to start acting.

Nara Machizukuri Center wishes to promote these activities and create a strong new movement for historic conservation in corporation with other sectors. We wish to positively make suggestions to the society under the catchwords of our activities "exchanging, collaborating, and sending messages" in order to develop links with those who involve in our town and to create our own town on our own will.


Exchange with Indian and Bhutanese Experts, organized by the Japan Foundation

Machiya (or Japanese Shophouse) Restoration Exhibition



Regular Activities
Library "Yu"(or playing), Library activities in Monogatari-kan for Children including reading circles, a children's song festival, a small house self-build project, a firefly watching, and so on

Meeting of "Gakuseiza Group", group for university studentsf in Nara for workshops and studies on Naramachi
The Monogatari-kan Concerts, 5 times a year
The Monogatari-kan Literature Seminars, 2 times a year
Lectures on Folklore Culture
Consulting Seminars for Restoration of Traditional Housing

Study and Survey
Study on Landscape and Scenery in Nara Prefecture
Meeting to discuss conservation of the Nara station building for Nara NPO Salon
New Monogatari-kan Salon, Regular Meetings

International Exchange
Exchange with Penang Heritage Trust, Penang, Malaysia

Exchange with Urban Development Institute Foundation, Chiang Mai, Thai
Support for Heritage Survey and Restoration for Tsunami Disastrous Area, Aceh, Sumatra
Participation in AWPNUC, Asia and West Pacific Network for Urban Conservation

Naramachi Forum (2004.11)
"Message to the World, toward a Harmonic Community : From the 25 Years' Experience in Naramachi"

Panel Discussion on Naramachi

Section Meeting on the Exchange Project with Urban Development Institute Foundation, Chiang Mai, Thai

Asian NPOs Network on Urban Conservation by Nara Machizukuri Center
Conserving historic areas as sustainable living spaces for families and communities –

BACKGROUND: Asian Historic Urban areas in Crisis
Most of urban areas in Asia have been rapidly changing under their high economic growth. Historic urban areas have been demolished easily and replaced by modern skyscrapers. In opposition to strong pressures from economic globalization, NPOs have to play important roles to conserve historic urban heritages, to take over communities, and to create distinctive regional identities. Networking is quite necessary for Asian NPOs to make a strong movement for urban conservation by exchanging their experiences and information.

1. Stopping the further demolitions of historic communities in Asia and conserving historic urban areas through networking NPOs activities.
2. Improving human lives based on their families and communities in historic urban areas in Asia through citizens participation.
3. Discovering an alternative methodology of urban planning appropriate to Asia through exchanging experiences and practicing experimental projects.

Shanghai, China in 1986

Shanghai, China in the future

MAP: Asian Network by Nara Machizukuri Center (Except for Australia)