Tonaki Island wins public design award

Tonaki Island wins public design award

The footlights of Village Road No. 1 on Tonaki Island, which won the block award of the JUDI public design award. (Provided by the Tonaki Village Office)

November 22, 2011 Yukiyo Zaha of Ryukyu Shimpo

Tonaki Island has been selected for a block award in a public design contest organized by the Japan Urban Design Institute (JUDI). The award has been given for the beautiful landscape and foot-lights on Village Road No. 1.

Features of Tonaki Island include its coral limestone wall, its traditional wooden houses with red tile roofs surrounded by fukugi or common garcinia trees, and the white-sand paths. Almost all of the island has been designated as an important traditional building preservation area, but Tonaki faces issues such as the outflow of population and the aging of the community. Tonaki Island put the foot-lights in place between 2000 and 2005 as a part of the “Project to Promote Traditional Communities.”

Streetlights were replaced by foot-lights to allow greater enjoyment of the night sky and for safety purposes. A total of 152 footlights were placed several meters apart on the street that is 2 to 3 meters wide and 765 meters long.

According to the Village, the lights are turned on at dusk, from 6:00pm in winter and from 7:00pm in summer. The lights have given the dark and tranquil island a fantastic atmosphere.

Village Mayor Noboru Uehara said, “We hope to attract more tourists to the island.”

A spokesperson of the Economic Affairs Division of the village stated, “We want to make the most of this opportunity to let people know about the island and we want more people to come here.”

Other than Tonaki, 14 public designs were selected for awards including for the grand award.

(English Translation by T&CT, Shinako Oyakawa and Mark Ealey)

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