Earthquake disaster and design

How Design can Support People in Evacuation Shelters

Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone areas in the world, with Tokyo as the city most at risk from natural disaster. The earthquake disaster on March 11, 2011, was one of the biggest earthquakes ever recorded in the world. The results were devastating, with 550,000 people evacuated from their homes and 215,000 people sheltered in evacuation centers in the worst hit areas.

The mission of the Earthquake Disaster + design project is to show that design can play an essential role in bringing harmony and order to chaos and can help create effective action. The design project focuses on evacuation shelters, a vital place for survivors in a natural disaster situation. To solve the various problems that might arise from living in these shelters, the project took form as an inter-disciplinary collaboration among academic institutions, industries and the professional creative community, including undergraduate and graduate students from the following disciplines: Architecture, landscape design, industrial design, visual communication design, economics, education, medicine and communication.

The team behind Earthquake Disaster + design provided concrete solutions for Tokyo, but with relevance for the rest of the world, while demonstrating that intelligently applied design can ease the problems caused by earthquakes.

Designed by Kazufumi Nagai, Yusuke Kakei, Yasuhiko Kozuka, Ryo Yamazaki,

Arisa Nishigami and Takanori Daigo (Japan), 2008


One Response to “Earthquake disaster and design”
  1. Jennifer Doherty says:

    While the Earth has always endured natural climate change variability, we are now facing the possibility of irreversible climate change in the near future. The increase of greenhouse gases in the Earth?s atmosphere from industrial processes has enhanced the natural greenhouse effect. This in turn has accentuated the greenhouse ?trap? effect, causing greenhouse gases to form a blanket around the Earth, inhibiting the sun?s heat from leaving the outer atmosphere. This increase of greenhouse gases is causing an additional warming of the Earth?s surface and atmosphere. A direct consequence of this is sea-level rise expansion, which is primarily due to the thermal expansion of oceans (water expands when heated), inducing the melting of ice sheets as global surface temperature increases.
    Forecasts for climate change by the 2,000 scientists on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) project a rise in the global average surface temperature by 1.4 to 5.8°C from 1990 to 2100. This will result in a global mean sea level rise by an average of 5 mm per year over the next 100 years. Consequently, human-induced climate change will have ?deleterious effects? on ecosystems, socio-economic systems and human welfare.At the moment, especially high risks associated with the rise of the oceans are having a particular impact on the two archipelagic states of Western Polynesia: Tuvalu and Kiribati. According to UN forecasts, they may be completely inundated by the rising waters of the Pacific by 2050.According to the vast majority of scientific investigations, warming waters and the melting of polar and high-elevation ice worldwide will steadily raise sea levels. This will likely drive people off islands first by spoiling the fresh groundwater, which will kill most land plants and leave no potable water for humans and their livestock. Low-lying island states like Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives are the most prominent nations threatened in this way.“The biggest challenge is to preserve their nationality without a territory,” said Bogumil Terminski from Geneva. The best solution is continue to recognize deterritorialized states as a normal states in public international law. The case of Kiribati and other small island states is a particularly clear call to action for more secure countries to respond to the situations facing these ‘most vulnerable nations’, as climate change increasingly impacts upon their lives.

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