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FEATURE STORYApril 27, 2023

Hiroshima's Rise: A Blueprint for Post-Crisis Urban Renewal


  • Hiroshima serves as a beacon of hope for urban restoration and growth, offering valuable lessons on resilience, reconciliation, and healing to other cities grappling with rebuilding after destruction.
  • The Tokyo Development Learning Center (TDLC) and Hiroshima City hosted an international symposium to discuss addressing multiple crises faced by cities in Europe and Central Asia, emphasizing the importance of partnership and knowledge sharing.
  • TDLC plays a crucial role in fostering partnerships between the World Bank and Japan, connecting Japanese expertise with cities worldwide and facilitating the exchange of practical solutions and best practices for sustainable urban development.
“Hiroshima is a city which has achieved remarkable reconstruction after war, from burned fields to a major city within western Japan. Hiroshima has a wealth of knowledge on the process of post war urban reconstruction and growth.” 

Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister, Japan



Rising from the ashes of World War II, the city of Hiroshima has transformed into an inspiring symbol of hope, peace, and regeneration. As cities worldwide grapple with the aftermath of natural hazards, conflict, and economic turmoil, Hiroshima's remarkable journey offers invaluable lessons in urban restoration and resilience.


Hiroshima's Transformation: Reconciliation and Healing

Once devastated, Hiroshima has risen to become an important economic hub in Japan's Chugoku region. This city on the Seto Inland Sea exemplifies urban restoration beyond mere concrete and steel – it tells a stirring story of reconciliation and healing, offering lessons to share with the world.

From Recovery to Growth: The Hiroshima Symposium

The Tokyo Development Learning Center (TDLC) and Hiroshima City recently hosted an international symposium, "From Recovery to Growth: Learning from Hiroshima’s Experience," which brought together global leaders, civil society representatives, and World Bank officials to discuss strategies for addressing urban crises faced by cities in the Europe and Central Asia region. Co-convened by the World Bank and the Government of Japan, the event focused on Hiroshima's journey from a war-devastated city to a modern, resilient, and livable urban center. Attendees explored the restoration of critical infrastructure and services, as well as short-term versus long-term solutions for recovery.

At the symposium, Anna Yurchenko, Ukraine's Deputy Minister of Communities, Territories, and Infrastructure Development, shared her perspective on the importance of Hiroshima's lessons for her home country. She urged the international community to support emergency repairs in Ukraine, a nation deeply affected by Russia's invasion more than a year ago.

Building Greener, More Resilient Cities

Juergen Voegele, Vice President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank, emphasized the potential of cities to adapt and rebuild in the face of adversity. He highlighted the importance of green infrastructure, low-carbon transportation, and energy-efficient buildings in promoting sustainability. Additionally, he stressed the value of investments in disaster risk reduction and preparedness, which can protect vulnerable communities and ensure access to essential services.

Cities are drivers of economic development, places of opportunity that offer solutions to development challenges. They have the ability to adapt and rebuild, becoming greener, more resilient and more inclusive.
Fatimetou Mint Mohamed
Juergen Voegele
Vice President, Sustainable Development, World Bank

The Power of Partnership: TDLC and the City Partnership Program

The World Bank, with its long-standing relationship with the government of Japan, has played a critical role in facilitating knowledge exchange between countries. TDLC is one such example of this collaboration, sharing practical Japanese solutions with developing countries and, through this process, informing the design and implementation of Bank projects. The symposium was part of a four-day knowledge exchange among TDLC, World Bank officials, and representatives from Azerbaijan, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine.

The TDLC, established in 2004 through a partnership between the Government of Japan and the World Bank, serves as a global knowledge hub on urban development. Its core program, the City Partnership Program (CPP), connects Japanese expertise with cities across the globe, equipping them with tools and strategies to address unique urban challenges.

Through the CPP, TDLC fosters partnerships between the World Bank, Japan, and other cities, allowing for the exchange of practical solutions and best practices. This collaboration demonstrates the power of partnership in addressing urban crises and creating sustainable, resilient urban environments.

Learning from Hiroshima's Experience

As cities in Europe and Central Asia confront challenges such as natural hazards, conflict, and economic instability, Hiroshima's experience offers hope and guidance. Transforming cities requires technical and institutional innovations, strong political will, and often international support. By learning from Hiroshima's story and fostering global partnerships, it is possible to create a more resilient and sustainable urban future for communities worldwide.

While financing is crucial for development, the World Bank also brings knowledge, expertise, and understanding built on years of experience around the world. The symposium in Hiroshima emphasized the importance of sharing this knowledge with partners and learning from them as they work together.


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