Innovators Network

Kyoto, one of the few Japanese cities to survive World War II intact, faces a different threat today. Kyoto’s machiya, traditional townhouses inhabited by merchants and craftsmen, are fast disappearing, victims of neglect and urban redevelopment. Loss of the machiya would alter the fabric of Kyoto and spell an end to a centuries-old cultural heritage on a scale not found elsewhere in Japan. Civic groups in Kyoto are scrambling to save the machiya that remain, but unlike the U.S. and Britain, Japan does not have a strong tradition of historic preservation.

In partnership with a group of pioneering Japanese preservationists, Japan Society and the Kyoto Center for Community Collaboration (KCCC) co-organized a two-day program in New York on historic preservation. With the guidance of Ruth Abram, founder of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and a member of the Innovators Network, the program included included roundtable discussions on historic preservation in the U.S., site visits, meetings with key institutions in New York working on historic preservation, and a symposium, A City Under Siege: Saving Kyoto’s Machiya from Destruction.

Project Impact

Evolution and Philosophy by Katherine Hyde
Building Financial Support by Katherine Hyde
A City Under Siege: Saving Kyoto’s Machiya from Destruction

Machiya Preservation Project is supported by Nihon Tokei Jim-Center Co., Ltd and Zero Corporation Co., Ltd.

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