Minna no Butai – ‘A Stage for All’ – showcased in JABS


An article showcasing みんなの舞台 Minna no Butai – a Stage for All was recently published in the Japanese publication the Journal of Architecture and Building Science (JABS):

Construction of ‘A stage for all’—
Attempts for Temporary Housings 3-4 years After the Disaster

みんなの舞台 Minna no Butai – a Stage for All was built in Summita-cho, Irate-ken by the 2014 MIT Japan Design Workshop in collaboration with the University of Tokyo’s Otsuki Lab.

The author, Saori Imoto, is a Research Associate at the University of Tokyo and a 2005-2006 Veneto Experience alumna.

The full article (in Japanese) can be read and downloaded here.


MIT News / Japan after the disaster

“When we talk about crises, they are instruments, or tools. [...] They’re not independently transformative. They’re tools in the service of people with preferences, and those preferences are remarkably sticky.”

Richard Samuels, in a recent article published in MIT News on Japanese politics and policy since the triple disaster in 2011

Initiative featured in MIT’s PLAN 81

The Initiative’s efforts in creating disaster resiliency was the main feature in the latest edition of MIT School of Architecture + Planning‘s newsletter publication, PLAN 81.  The story showcases our work from last summer’s workshop to the present in response to the “urgent need for community centers to facilitate social interaction and serve as a symbol for the town’s resurgence of hope.”

Read more here.

Early warning signals in ancient stones

“How successful are you in actually getting the displaced to (discuss?) relocate(ing) their rebuilding efforts higher?” is the question posed to us by friend of the Initiative, Ken Diener.  Another question in a similar vein is, “What types of warnings would it take to convince people to move to safer ground,” locations safe from the known historic hazards of tsunamis?

The excerpted article below — originally published in CBS news on April 6th, 2011 — showcases the 600-year old stone markers that have long warned of tsunamis:

Ancient stone markers warned of tsunamis

centuries-old tablet warns of danger of tsunamis

In this March 31, 2011 photo, a tsunami survivor walks past a centuries-old tablet that warns of danger of tsunamis in the hamlet of Aneyoshi, Iwate Prefecture, northern Japan. (AP)

MIYAKO, Japan – Modern sea walls failed to protect coastal towns from Japan’s destructive tsunami last month. But in the hamlet of Aneyoshi, a single centuries-old tablet saved the day.

“High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants,” the stone slab reads. “Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis. Do not build any homes below this point.”

It was advice the dozen or so households of Aneyoshi heeded, and their homes emerged unscathed from a disaster that flattened low-lying communities elsewhere and killed thousands along Japan’s northeastern shore.

Hundreds of such markers dot the coastline, some more than 600 years old. Collectively they form a crude warning system for Japan, whose long coasts along major fault lines have made it a repeated target of earthquakes and tsunamis over the centuries.

The markers don’t all indicate where it’s safe to build. Some simply stand — or stood, washed away by the tsunami — as daily reminders of the risk. “If an earthquake comes, beware of tsunamis,” reads one. In the bustle of modern life, many forgot.

More than 12,000 have been confirmed dead and officials fear the death toll could rise to 25,000 from the March 11 disaster. More than 100,000 are still sheltering in schools and other buildings, almost a month later. A few lucky individuals may move into the first completed units of temporary housing this weekend.

The Initiative in Architectural Record

MIT Program Comes to Aid of Post-Tsunami Japan

The Initiative has been in the public eye, most recently as a feature in Architectural Record.  The article is a thoughtful and thorough overview of the group’s activities to date.  Accompanying the article is a slideshow with some great photos, showcasing important developments from Year One.