Kitakami "We Are One" Market and Youth Center (北上ウィー・アー・ワン・コラボラティブ)

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SUMMARY
Architecture for Humanity will provide project management and construction administration to build a youth center and a market. It will also provide a safe place for children to hang out after school, a place for residents to shop for fresh produce, and a place for mothers to work and watch children.

Members of the ‘We Are One’ Kitakami

BACKGROUND STORY
Naomi Sato is originally from Ishinomaki. Before the earthquake, she worked as an accountant at a local general contractor’s office. Since 2009, she also worked as a member of the Kitakami Redevelopment Committee for the city of Ishinomaki with the city representative, Mr. Konno. She lost her husband to the earthquake, and now lives with their three children. She got depressed after the quake, but quickly realized she has to move forward with her family. She organized the Kitakami “We Are One” Market planning committee with other mothers in the temporary housing complex. The planning committee consisting of five mothers from the area would like to build a youth center to provide students a safe place to stay after school. The center would be next to a market where mothers can work and watch neighbors’ children at the same time.

Kitakami used to have three elementary schools, but two of them were severely damaged by the tsunami. Students in two of those schools got transferred to the one that survived. Today about 250 students share a building designed for about 100 occupants. Not only classrooms were lost, but also a public library with a computer lab that students used as a meeting place after school.

There is no nearby market where residents can purchase fresh produce. Currently, people, especially elderly, who do not have a car or lost a car to the tsunami do not have means to get to the nearest market, a 15-minutes drive away. These folks rely on others to drive them. It is important for residents to have access to fresh food, so the committee is proposing to provide local produce to the temporary housing community. Its location is along the highway connecting two major cities. A high visibility site will attract business from travelers, and ensure its long term financial stability. Its close proximity to the elementary school and the temporary housing complex will also help parents who otherwise chauffeur their children a great distance.

Entrance to the temporary housing complex

OBJECTIVE
The Market Planning Committee believes it is important for residents of the temporary housing to have access to fresh food. Therefore they are proposing to provide local produce to the temporary housing community. Its location is along the highway connecting two major cities. A high visibility site will attract business from travelers, and ensure its long term financial stability. Its close proximity to the elementary school and the temporary housing complex will also help parents so that they do not have to chauffeur their children as far as they are currently doing.

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