MIT Inter-University Program in Japan
Disaster-Resilient Planning, Design + Reconstruction

Alternative Visions for Resettlement & New Communities comprehensive planning & implementation
2011 Summer – 5 years+

Questions, doubts and confusion will persist as to the rebuilding or relocating of displaced persons. Should people rebuild their houses in the lowland areas where they may be convenient and necessary for the local fishing industry but dubious for the safety of permanent homes? Where are the safe havens? Should the beautiful shoreline, the coves, the islands and horizons reaching out to the sea be cut off from eye-level by a concrete seawall over 10 meters high?  In addition to the abundant oyster, abalone, konbu and fishing industry, Miyagi-ken’s scenic coastline attractions are key to its economy. As Mayor Sato envisioned aloud his town’s future, he asked whether previous streets, building regulations, land-use, and public infrastructure ought to be replicated or if new plans need to be made.

The MIT Japan 3/11 Initiative team studied these myriad options this summer to assist in the planning and implementation of alternative strategies for disaster-preparedness as well as sound ecological community building in an era of climate change and sustainability. Such a process will require improved decision-making tools, and the project’s longer-range engagement intends to equip local governments, grassroots organizations and citizens particularly in interpreting the anticipated top-down mandates expected from Japan’s central government. The project’s outcome will also hopefully serve as a model case for countless other regional coastal and valley communities throughout Japan.

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