Since 2002, the city of Grenoble, France, has engaged citizens in public decision-making through participatory committees and town meetings. Residents have been able to express their opinions and make recommendations on city planning, education, cultural life, and other municipal issues. Over the years, this program has strengthened local democracy and empowered public participation in important civic projects.
In January of 1995, greater Kobe, Japan experienced a high intensity earthquake called the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake. The damage extended into Kyoto, Osaka, and Hyogo. Just in Hyogo alone, over 240,000 homes burned or collapsed as a result. In March of 1995, the City of Kobe local government issued plans for “Designation of Land Readjustment and Redevelopment Areas,” which called for six areas of land readjustment and two areas to be redeveloped inside Kobe. The City of Kobe also divided the effected areas into black, gray and white zones, referring to the gover