Fukuoka City began fulfilling its function as Kyushu’s core city circa 1976. That year marked the start of intense retail competition in the Tenjin area, as the Tenjin Underground Shopping Mall and Tenjin Station on the Fukuoka Municipal Subway line both opened. The Tenjin Core building and what is now Vivre opened at the same time. Opening the Tenjin subway line resulted in a major shift in the flow of people in the central part of the city. The flow had formerly been along Meiji-dori on an east-west axis, but shifted to Watanabe-dori on a north-south axis.
Ten years later, in 1987 – during the bubble economy era – the city enacted legislation that focused on the urban landscape. The impetus came from the citizens who thought comfort and aesthetics in the city were more important than functionality and efficiency. The Fukuoka City Urban Landscape Award was also established to recognize those who contributed to the creation of an appealing urban landscape and to heighten the awareness of the urban landscape among the population. The 20th anniversary of the Fukuoka City Landscape Award was in 2006. A total of 20 photographs are selected from among the roughly 300 submitted for consideration every year. In addition to unique buildings, structures, and monuments, awards are also given based on the consideration of a district’s planning and activities. The first awards were presented to Hotel Uminonakamichi and the main branch of Fukuoka Bank. Also receiving recognition were the Hakata Hyakunengura, a stone sake brewery in the Hakata Ward, and Daimyo’s Jokyu Soy Sauce supplier.
Other sites that have been recognized include the trees at Kego Primary School, the Museum City Project, and Hakata Tomyo. Even City Joho Fukuoka and the Nishitetsu 100 Yen Bus received awards! In short, the Fukuoka City Urban Landscape Award focuses on media that encourages dynamism in the city and activities to help people enjoy Fukuoka and Hakata history through the entire landscape – not just the buildings in large developments or the scenery itself. Fukuoka’s urban landscape reflects the history of the city and the character of its residents. I hope Fukuoka City retains its urban diversity, rather than a monolithic entity.
2007 Award Winners:
Katae, Jonan Ward (home with storehouse)
The Naka Auxiliary Squadron Garage
Fukuoka Catholic Rectory
Island City Central Park – Gurin Gurin