formative, you say?

21/05/2012 § 3 Comments

In which I own the island and everyone bows to my feet.

You own a café, and you are interested in moving to Rokko Island. Where would you locate your business? Why?

I’m not sure what it’s called exactly but I would locate my business in the walkway of that connects P&G to the RINK. This is the area where Wendy’s used to be located. I would locate my café here because it is in the middle and also in the general commercial centre of the island. There are nearby residential, transportation, educational and other commercial areas that link to this walkway. P&G for example has a bridge that can take its workers through this area. Many of them take this route to get to work every day. The Kobe college situated right next to P&G uses this walkway even more so that the students of the college can come to classes every day and have lunch on the island, too. Because college students are younger and prefer the atmosphere of a café, this place would be perfect partially because of them. Similarly, the transportation benefit is that many people who live on the island or off the island go through this walkway and are bound to pass by my café when going home or going to work. Perhaps they could stop by and grab a coffee or maybe even spend some time in my café to do whatever after a long day. The walkway has so much potential and I will utilise its potential.

You work for the Urban Development Office of Rokko Island. You are trying to identify areas of improvement for land use on Rokko Island. Make two recommendations to the Mayor of Kobe that you think Rokko Island should do over the next 5 years related to land use.

The two areas of land use improvement I would recommend the Mayor of Kobe to develop are Rokko Island’s recreational and commercial land uses. By improving these areas of land use, he can help to further urbanise Rokko Island and encourage more people to move in.

The mayor should focus on adding more recreational areas that will appeal to all kinds of people of all ages. Right now, Rokko Island has a lot of unused land that can be used to build attractions and places that can appeal to kids, teenagers, adults, and even the elderly. Take the south of Rokko Island.When you enter Rokko Island from the North, there seems to be a lot of stuff going on because you enter and the first thing you see is the River Mall. To appeal to the average visitor, Rokko Island will obviously have attractive recreational structures and lots of colour as the first thing the visitor will lay his or her eyes on. But as you move further south into the island, although the Islanders (people who live on the island) know that Marine Park can be lovely at certain times of the day (and the year), there is only a lot of empty land, vast weedy fields and a dirty water park filled with brown and green water (except during the summer when they decide to finally clean the park). If we were able to add recreational structures such as another gym or a bigger mall, a better park, nicer playgrounds, a paintball war place or even a garden – we would be able to make Rokko Island a much more attractive town. The success of the island all comes down to satisfying the inhabitants. Think about who lives on the island – a lot of old people, a couple of single college students, and families. The families are the ticket to success. There are kids all over the island and if the mayor were to build recreational structures that appealed to those kids, forced those kids to hoard money from their parents, received monetary fuel through those kids’ joy and happiness (and money), then the island could really get somewhere. I think Rokko Island is located in a pretty nice place in Japan especially because of its location in between cities like Kobe, Sannomiya, Nishinomiya and Osaka. Less families would leave the island and more families would come to live on this lovely little island if only there were more fun things to do. The mayor could focus on a select few infrastructures to build for the next five years and start from there.

The mayor should also focus on working on its commercial land usage. Looking at the big picture, we have the RINK (or Kobe Fashion Plaza, I think it’s called), Kobe Fashion Mart, and Gourmet City. Gourmet City is basically a collection of department stores like Daiei, Kobe Grocers and the ¥100 Shop. The RINK used to have some functioning businesses, like Variety 101, Bizazz, ABC Mart and they even had two movie theatre businesses (MOVIX and CineWave) but all of that is gone now. Rokko Island’s commercial land usage has gone to the dogs. There are also other businesses in different parts of the island like next to East Court 4, where the Korean restaurant is. There’s also that area in River Mall with Subway,  McDonald’s, Macsie’s (sp? Maxey’s?) and other restaurant businesses near Daiei. However, more often today, the businesses found in Rokko Island are seen closing down and moving out of the island. This is not good for the island because even if the businesses are out, the land is still there and is rendered essentially useless if no one is using it. Here, the mayor can step in and claim different parts of Rokko Island and utilise it for commercial land use. Imagine if Rokko Island had all kinds of businesses spread out all over the island. The commercial land use right now is helping Rokko Island’s urbanisation but if we accessed the island’s full potential and invested in commercial land usage, the island’s urbanisation would increase tenfold. It would attract other business, offer more jobs, and of course, constantly bring more and more customers and visitors into the island.

You are the Project Manager for the Coastal Management Task Force for Rokko Island. You need to make three recommendations for future coastal management for Rokko Island. List out your three recommendations, explain why you are recommending them, list any disadvantages they may have. Finally, explain how the stakeholders related to the changes would feel.

Now that I am the Project Manager for the Coastal Management Task Force for Rokko Island, I have three recommendations for the future coastal management for the island. As manager, I believe that Rokko Island should work on its tourism & recreation, wildlife habitats, and can upgrade is coastal engineering. This is all part of a better coastal management plan I need to make sure the island has in order to keep the six coastal aspects balanced.

Rokko Island can work on their tourism & recreation. As I mentioned in the previous question, Rokko Island should at first work on investing more money in recreational land use. If they did this, Rokko Island would be able to attract more visitors and customers on a regular basis. The amount of recreational and commercial activity that can be done in Rokko Island is very small. If we tried to find the percentage of recreational land usage out of the whole island, I do believe that it would be quite small (see yellow shaded areas on map). It used to be that Rokko Island would have a constant flow of people in and out not just for work and school or to go home but also because it was still a pretty interesting place to be in. We have that art museum and the Sheraton hotel for tourism but those are still very few. If Rokko Island could focus on channeling their money into gaining more recreational structures (parks, gyms, theatres, a mall), they would be able to increase their appeal to tourists and gain more visitors. Now, the people who are being hit hard the most because of the lack of strength in Rokko Island’s tourism and recreation are the individual businesses, the island’s own local government, and even the residents. Firstly, the residents are only stakeholders because more and more today, islanders find themselves feeling sad because they notice that the island is quieter, lonelier and a lot bigger than it used to be. There just aren’t that many people interested in Rokko Island and the Islanders can feel that — it makes them sad, and you do not want a sad town. The island’s local government is obviously going to be affected by the consequences of these changes because they will have to control all of the work that will be put into making new deals and structures. Whether they will be able to make deals and acquire enough money to make these structures is all up to them – this is simple a recommendation that I know will help promote Rokko Island and help to urbanise it further. Lastly, the individual businesses can be affected by this both positively and negatively if you look at it in multiple different ways. Let’s say that none of the new recreational structures and new businesses are erected and Rokko Island stays the same. This is positive because the current residents and visitors will then constantly go to those same businesses that already exist and they won’t have to experience any difficult competition. The negative result is that eventually, the lack of businesses and healthy economy in Rokko Island will just shut everything down, eventually putting the current businesses away and forcing them to move out. Now, let’s say that recreation structures and new businesses are erected in Rokko Island. The only potentially negative thing about this is the increased competition between businesses but then again, is competition really so bad? It helps a businesses to constantly improve itself and that’s what people should always be seeking – constant improvement. You can see how perhaps the tourism and recreational advancement in Rokko Island could be its biggest saviour.

Note: Also, I’m not sure if people know this, I’m pretty sure it’s true, but RINK has been purchased and is now owned by Aeon Malls which is big news. We can expect a lot of renovating and many more changes in Rokko Island if Aeon can bring its game into the island and help us fix our tourism and recreation.

Rokko Island should upgrade their coastal engineering to keep the coast safe from any future disasters. Right now, all of the coastal engineering that Rokko Island has are the sea wall off the south coast of the island and the rock armour (or rip-raps) lining a very small portion of the Marine Park. True, Rokko Island hasn’t faced much disaster in its history in terms of tsunamis but it has experienced an earthquake, and a pretty terrible earthquake at that. Let’s make a little scenario and just imagine how wrong things could go if Rokko Island wasn’t prepared and properly protected. Say that a once-in-a-million-years gigantic tsunami was headed straight for inland Kobe and right through Rokko Island. We wouldn’t want to be the victims of some big wave. So, if we didn’t have any of the appropriate hard engineering devices that could at least slow down the wave and reduce most of the initial force, then we would risk a lot of damage to the island as well as injuries and hurting the local government’s economy for post-disaster rehabilitation. However, if Rokko Island did have a good plan that consisted of lots of carefully planned and strategised hard engineering, the least we could do during a tsunami disaster is slow down the wave, give people some time to leave, and avoid as much damage as possible. In this case, altering and improving the engineering plan of the coast is vital because of what Rokko Island is. Rokko Island is a port city – a man-made island with a purpose to ship things in and out of Japan. A lot of businesses and workers probably rely on the existence of Rokko Island to keep their businesses and jobs going. If Rokko Island were to shut down or suddenly disappear because it sank during a tsunami, all of the transport that happened on the island would have to move to Port Island or to other ports and that would make a lot of difficult changes. So – the stakeholders are essentially the residents of the island and the transport companies as well as the workers. Rokko Island should work on upgrading their coastal engineering to keep this city safe from disasters. If they succeed, we could save a lot of money, jobs, and property and keep this port city alive.

Finally, Rokko Island should work on preserving its wildlife habitats. We had a huge unit in Environmental Science concerning the preservation of a healthy environment. Animals and the natural wildlife that comes in each ecosystem are also a part of that environment. Rokko Island may not have a lot of wildlife but they have some. We have certain insects, all kinds of plants, and a lot of birds, actually. Also, do people ever get the chance to look in the water and see what’s in there? There are jellyfish and all kinds of fish on the coast of Rokko Island and there are probably a couple of octopi down there, too. My point is – it doesn’t really matter if we’re trying to protect the really nice birds that come during spring or the stray cats that lurk around the Green Belt at night. These animals have chosen to stay in Rokko Island because they like it for some reason. As the residents of Rokko Island, it is then our duty to make sure that the island not only provides sufficient living space for ourselves (humans) but also a healthy environment for the wildlife to live in. For example, if we didn’t have as much trees as we did right now, where would all of the birds live? And if the fishers didn’t provide the fish they caught to the cats, what would the cats be eating? Would the cats even be there? (Do cats even count as wildlife?) Maybe there are creatures on the island that are worth looking at for tourists. It’s unlikely but you never know. Despite this, the importance of preserving a healthy environment still stands. It is vital for man to keep life on earth no matter how big or how small, how weird or how gross. We were here last. We were on Rokko Island last. Rokko Island should invest in making sure that the entire island, although fit to still suit urban standards, maintains a healthy habitat for the wildlife that already lives here. The stakeholders are us, the people who will be given the jobs of taking care of the environment for the wildlife, and of course, the actual wildlife that will be preserved on Rokko Island. It’s pretty much a universal thing known to society today that it’s vital to keep all kinds of life on earth and Rokko Island should also take part in that before giving themselves a chance to fall behind. Whatever wildlife they have now, they should preserve it and take care of it.

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