In Fujino transition town like in many other villages young people tend to go to big cities for job, a broader variety of choices, new adventures, activities, people relationships, knowledge and experience, etc.
Less and less young people living in the town caused the absence of need in maintaining an existing elementary school operation. There are just not enough pupils anymore. And even for existing ones parents prefer them to study in Tokyo.
But since Fujino becomes popular among artists and mid-age generation, people are coming here. They quickly identified a need to have a place to meet and develop their artistic activity. Abandoned elementary school seemed to fit their needs.Artists decided to talk to the local government that allowed them to rent this building for a modest fee.
It was transformed into Makisato Lab which today hosts few activities useful for local community.
Local electric company that delivers workshops on renewable energy sources such solar panels, teaches about their maintenance and gives courses about energy independence.
Outdoor art festival is an important cultural event to have some fun, create connections between locals and guests, promote the town and attract new people highlighted by the idea of Fujino sustainable living style. During 2 days in summer the festival proposes concerts, theatre performances, craftsmanship workshops and organic local food meals.
Before closing an existing economic or social activity or selling out a big piece of land and abandon it or sell it to build a new shopping mall, global corporation spot or industrial agriculture field, let’s think how to empower local community, bring together the local government and people to satisfy their mutual needs.