This paper explores the knowledge-based development of Kobe, Kansai, from its top-down governance after WWII to an ideological shift which provided greater regional scope for location-specific strategies and decision-making. After the destruction of the 1996 Hanshin earthquake, Kobe trialled new greenfield planning methods to address social and industrial issues. It aimed to increase the policy integration of community, industry and leisure through a joint national knowledge-based development vision and bottom-up neighbourhood planning approach. By the 2000s, Kobe emerged as a competitive knowledge-based economy. This paper documents Kobe’s changing governance approaches shaping the interplay between national, regional and local policy as well as perspectives of key regional stakeholders involved in policy implementation. It explores the impact Japan’s top-down governance had on local industry development, and how this has gradually changed from one of total autocratic control to one of regional autonomy within nationally-coordinated guidelines. It is perhaps this evolution in governance flexibility that provided foundations for the successful development of Kobe’s knowledge-based industry.
International Journal of Knowledge-Based Development – Inderscience Publishers
Published: Jan 1, 2013