Regional Planning International Co., Ltd. (RPI) was founded in 1969 by two researchers in urban and regional development planning. Dr. KOJIMA Shigeji had been a professor of Nihon University and Dr. KONNO Akira had been an associate professor of Yokohama National University.
From the outset of its history, RPI’s activities covered both domestic and overseas projects. Its domestic projects reflect Japan’s economic development. During the seventies, many projects were conducted for industrial development in provincial regions. On the other hand, in recent years, a lot of efforts have been focused on improvement and redevelopment of deteriorated residential zones in urbanized areas.
RPI’s consulting services in developing countries cover urban and regional development, environmental analysis and planning, industrial development, transportation planning and so forth. In fact, the majority of its overseas projects used to be industrial and industrial estate development. The importance of industrial development has not been reduced. However, there are many themes to be challenged besides industrial development. In recent years, we are conducting an increasing number of social development projects with participatory approaches. These approaches are not new for RPI. We are proud that many of our domestic projects have incorporated community participation for planning processes. Such examples are community workshops to plan neighborhood parks or to improve welfare systems, organizing groups to renovate community environments, distributing mini-communication newspapers to facilitate redevelopment and so on. Such experiences are modified and applied to communities in developing countries.
In any type of studies or projects, RPI’s major role has consistently been integration of socio-economic study and engineering design, recognizing that socio-economic analysis for the sake of analysis is of no practical use and that construction works or engineering works are not development objectives. We always aim to present the best workable solution within a location-specific context. The integrated solution includes socio-economic analysis, physical plans and institutional arrangements for realization.
In other words, the solution must be a sustainable one. RPI, as a group of planners and consultants of a variety of disciplines, interprets sustainability as a multi facet concept such as environmental/ecological, financial/economic and socio-cultural sustainability.
To be sustainable, any plan or project must be market-friendly and flexible to unforeseen socio-economic changes. We are promoting ways to facilitate the private sector for public natured projects by such schemes as public-private joint ventures, Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and Private Finance Initiative(PFI).
Sustainability also means increased extent of self reliance in development efforts. Technology transfer, empowerment or capacitation has long been a major theme of any project conducted by RPI. More precisely, in any project, we and our local counterparts should jointly develop optimal technologies, methodology and capability most appropriate to the local situation through mutually learning processes, rather than a one-way process of transferring externally prefabricated technology.
RPI has core staff for projects in developing countries. In addition, when we conduct overseas projects, we mobilize our international network of consultants and university staff on a project basis. We can also mobilize RPI’s domestic project staff as well as the knowledge and know-how accumulated through its domestic projects.
Hokkaido Japan,Destination of RPI Staff Tour in 2008