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RESILIENCY & RECONSTRUCTION Three Case Studies on Recovering from a Natural Disaster

Milja Lindberg Master’s Thesis in Architecture Aalto University, School of Arts, Design, and Architecture 2014

Supervisor: Pirjo Sanaksenaho Advisor: Saija Hollmén


Through my research I have observed that natural disasters are often seen as numbers and statistics. However, the narrative of disasters is spoken through stories and shared experiences.




When I was thinking about a field in which to start forming my Master’s thesis in Architecture, I chose to research the role of architecture in humanitarian crises caused by natural disasters – because the failure of cities and built environment in these events is also a failure of the work of architects. My first experience in humanitarian work came through volunteering in the settlements of Cape Town, South Africa as a preschool instructor in spring 2011. Until then, these people living in slums and extreme poverty had been merely faces on the pages of news papers, but now, I got to know them, their names and favorite passtime during lunch breaks. I left Cape Town with a heavy heart and determination to guide my career path towards humanitarian work. I signed up to volunteer for Architecture for Humanity in January 2014 and moved to Vancouver, Canada for six months. To fully understand the situations of post-disaster topias, to get to know the people behind these news images and to hear their stories, I decided to visit Japan and Philippines – two countries that have encountered great disasters. It became clear to me that architecture does not only have an significant role in helping communities better encounter natural disasters but more importantly it has the ability to offer qualities that support and enhance resiliency.


Table of Contents


Foreword 5 Abstract / Tiivistelmä 8 Abbreviations and Acronyms 10 Contacts 11 Definitions 12 Introduction 14 Part 1 The Global Landscape of Natural Disasters Post-Disaster Timeline Post-Disaster Building Typologies International Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies Pre-Disaster Risk Reduction, Mitigation, and Preparedness

18 28 38 40 42

Part 2 Case Studies 46 Tacloban, Philippines 49 Ishinomaki, Japan 83 Vancouver, Canada 121 Part 3 Building Resiliency 154 Culture 156 Urban Acupuncture 158 Strategic Shift 160 Locally Embedded Resiliency 162 Nucleus – The New Typology 164 Conclusions 168 Afterword 170 References 172 7

Aalto University, P.O. BOX 11000, 00076 AALTO www.aalto.fi Master of Architecture Thesis Abstract

Abstract Author Milja Lindberg Title of Thesis Resiliency and Reconstruction – Three Case Studies on Recovering from a Natural Disaster Department Department of Architecture Professorship Building Design Code of professorship A-8 Thesis supervisor Pirjo Sanaksenaho Thesis advisor Saija Hollmén Presentation boards 4 Year 2014

Number of Pages 177

Language English

Rapid urbanization coinciding with climate change and the increase in frequency and volatility of natural disasters has heightened the vulnerability of our communities and cities and has directed international attention to the theme of resiliency. This thesis begins by addressing the issue of natural disasters and asks why can some communities withstand natural disasters better and recover faster than others, and how can architecture better support communities to encounter a future disaster event? This thesis consists of three parts. Part 1 presents the current timeline of post-disaster reconstruction cycle and pre-disaster mitigation actions. The cycle starts with a natural disaster. Though varied in intensity, destructiveness and type, all natural disaster can disrupt a city’s or a community’s ability to function in providing its habitants a safe and humane living environment. Phases followed immediately after a disaster are response and rescue, relief and shelter. Then starts the rehabilitation of the community. As a new disaster approaches, preparedness and mitigation actions can help cities and communities better respond when facing a disaster. The cycle is completed at the event of another natural disaster and the process of reconstruction begins again. Over the course of spring 2014, I visited three cities, three countries with three distinctly different cultural and climatological contexts in the Pacific Region that are currently at different stages of the reconstruction cycle. The conducted case studies demonstrate how these cities deal with the challenges of the present as well as brings light to their efforts in building towards a more resilient and safer future. The first case study is about Tacloban, Philippines devastated by typhoon Yolanda on the November 8th, 2013. Six months after the typhoon, temporary structures scattered around the city as well as the regrowth of vulnerable informal urban settlements along the coast pose a new threat as the surrounding environment is showing signs of stronger and more volatile storms. The second case study of the City of Ishinomaki, Japan will present the phases followed by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011 and the state of the city three years after the disaster. The 2011 disaster showed how a chain of disasters followed by an earthquake can effect susceptible modern societies and countries that are forerunners in disaster preparedness. The third case study presents Vancouver, Canada, a city expected to encounter a great magnitude earthquake anytime within the next 200 years. The possible future scenario of a high magnitude earthquake poses a complex series of threats to the City of Vancouver. Sixty percent of the city’s built mass predate the seismic building code and are categorized as high risk for structural failure. The estimated economic losses due to a disaster event in Vancouver would not only decrease the economic stability of the city but negatively effect the whole economy of Canada. Loss of livelihoods and jobs could result in outmigration of residents and shift the province to a long-term decline. Part 3 of this thesis argues for a fundamental shift in the way architects design for disaster. I propose the idea of locally embedded resiliency which would make architectural preparedness methods immediately beneficial in the pre-disaster phase by implementing a dual program. The idea of locally embedded resiliency proposes a method that would address both pre-disaster needs and post-disaster needs of a vulnerable community with the implementation of a public building network of a new type of building, the nucleus, that provides a transitional program suitable for both pre- and post-disaster topias. To place these structures within a community, architects must identify the role of culture and the intangible social structures within the physical urban frame in order to grasp the essence of the community. The thesis concludes by stating that architects can have a long-lasting positive impact on a community and build resiliency over time by addressing directly the underlying causes of vulnerability to natural disaster – that is poverty and the lack of social capital, education and equality.

Keywords resiliency, reconstruction, natural disaster, Tacloban, Ishinomaki, Vancouver.


Aalto-yliopisto, PL 11000, 00076 AALTO www.aalto.fi Arkkitehdin diplomityön tiivistelmä

Tiivistelmä Tekijä Milja Lindberg Työn nimi Resiliency and Reconstruction – Three Case Studies on Recovering from a Natural Disaster Laitos Arkkitehtuurin laitos Professuuri Rakennussuunnittelu Professuurikoodi A-8 Työn valvoja Pirjo Sanaksenaho Työn ohjaaja Saija Hollmén Kuvaplanssit 4 kpl Vuosi 2014

Sivumäärä 177

Kieli englanti

Nopea kaupungistuminen sekä ilmastonmuutoksesta johtuvat lisääntyneet luonnonkatastrofit ovat lisänneet yhteisöjen ja kaupunkien haavoittuvuutta, joka on herättänyt kansainvälistä kiinnostusta katastrofikestävyyttä (resiliency) kohtaan. Tämä diplomityö käsittelee luonnonkatastrofeja ja tutkii, miksi jotkin yhteisöt kestävät luonnonkatastrofeja paremmin ja toipuvat nopeammin kuin toiset, ja miten arkkitehtuuri voisi paremmin tukea yhteisöjä kohtaamaan mahdolliset tulevat luonnonkatastrofit? Tämä diplomityö koostuu kolmesta osasta. Osa 1 käsittelee katastrofin jälkeisen jälleenrakentamisen aikajanaa ja ennaltaehkäiseviä, luonnonkatastrofien seurausten lievittämiseen tähtääviä toimintoja. Jälleenrakentamisen aloittaa luonnonkatastrofi. Vaikka luonnonkatastrofit vaihtelevat voimakkuudeltaan, tuhoisuudeltaan ja tyypiltään, kaikki luonnonmullistukset voivat heikentää kaupungin tai yhteisön kykyä toimia ja tarjota asukkailleen turvallista ja inhimillistä elinympäristöä. Katastrofin jälkeen seuraa hätäapu ja pelastustoimet, sekä hätämajoituksen järjestäminen. Näitä seuraa vähitellen yhteisön kuntoutus. Kun uusi katastrofi lähestyy, ennaltaehkäisevät toimet voivat auttaa kaupunkeja ja yhteisöjä paremmin vastaamaan katastrofin tuomiin haasteisiin. Kierros päättyy, kun seuraava luonnonkatastrofi iskee ja jälleenrakennus alkaa uudelleen. Osa 2 käsittelee kolmea tapaustutkimusta. Vierailin kevään 2014 aikana kolmessa kaupungissa, kolmessa maassa, jotka edustavat kolmea selvästi erilaista kulttuuria ja ilmastollista ympäristöä Tyynenmeren alueella. Nämä kolme kaupunkia ovat tällä hetkellä jälleenrakentamisen eri vaiheissa. Tapaustutkimukset kustakin kaupungista osoittavat, miten nämä kaupungit vastaavat esille tulleisiin haasteisiin sekä pyrkimyksistä rakentaa kestävämpää ja turvallisempaa tulevaisuutta. Ensimmäinen tapaustutkimus käsittelee Taclobania Filippiineillä, joka tuhoutui taifuuni Yolandan seurauksena 8. marraskuuta 2013. Kuusi kuukautta taifuunin jälkeen, väliaikaiset rakenteet ovat hajallaan ympäri kaupunkia ja ihmiset ovat alkaneet rakentaa talojaan takaisin haavoittuvalle rannikkoalueelle. Tämä aiheuttaa uudenlaisen uhan kaupungille, kun merkkejä yhä voimakkaammista myrskyistä on ilmassa. Toinen tapaustutkimus käsittelee Ishinomakia Japanissa ja esittelee vaiheita, jotka seurasivat Japanin maanjäristystä ja tsunamia vuonna 2011, sekä kaupungin tilaa kolme vuotta katastrofin jälkeen. 11.maaliskuuta 2011 alkaneet tapahtumien ketjut osoittavat, kuinka maanjäristystä seuranneet tsunami ja ydintuho voivat haavoittaa jopa maita, jotka ovat edelläkävijöitä kriisivalmiudessa. Kolmas tapaustutkimus esittelee Vancouveria, Kanadaa. Vancouverin alueella odotetaan suurta maanjäristystä milloin tahansa seuraavan 200 vuoden aikana. Mahdollinen tulevaisuuden skenaario aiheuttaa moninaisia uhkia Vancouverin kaupungille. Kuusikymmentä prosenttia kaupungin rakennuksista on rakennettu ennen tiukennettuja rakennusmääräystä ja nämä rakennukset on luokiteltu korkean riskin luokkaan. Katastrofista aiheutuvat arvioidut taloudelliset menetykset Vancouverissa eivät ainoastaan huonontaisi kaupungin taloudellista vakautta, vaan ne vaikuttaisivat negatiivisesti koko Kanadan talouteen. Elinkeinojen ja työpaikkojen menetys voisi johtaa asukkaiden poismuuttoon ja aiheuttaa koko maakunnan laajuisen laman. Osa 3 argumentoi perustavanlaatuisen muutoksen puolesta siitä, kuinka arkkitehdit suunnittelevat katastrofialueille. Ehdotukseni on idea paikallisesti juurrutettusta kestävyydestä (locally embedded resliency), joka toisi katastrofit huomioivasta suunnittelusta välittömästi hyötyä kaupungeille. Ajatus paikallisesti juurrutettusta kestävyydestä ehdottaa menetelmää, jolla puututtaisiin sekä ennen katastrofia oleviin yhteiskunnallisiin tarpeisiin että katastrofin jälkeisiin tarpeisiin. Riskialttiiden yhteisöjen kanssa toteutettu julkisten rakennusten verkosto koostuisi uudenlaisesta rakennustyypistä, tumasta (nucleus), joka tarjoaisi toimintoja ja palveluita sekä ennen katastrofia että katastrofin jälkeen. Jotta tällä verkostolla voitaisiin tukea yhteisöjä, arkkitehtien on tunnistettava kulttuurin rooli ihmisten kestävyyttä edistävänä tekijänä sekä sosiaalisten rakenteiden muodostamat ytimet fyysisten kaupunkien runkojen sisällä. Diplomityön yhteenveto toteaa, että arkkitehdeillä ja arkkitehtuurilla voi olla pitkäaikaisia myönteisiä vaikutuksia yhteisöihin ja suunnittelulla voidaan auttaa rakentamaan katastrofikestävyyttä puuttumalla suoraan niihin syihin, jotka lisäävät yhteisön haavoittuvuutta luonnonkatastrofin kohdatessa. Näitä syitä ovat erityisesti köyhyys, sekä sosiaalisen pääoman, koulutuksen ja tasa-arvon puute. Avainsanat resilienssi, jälleenrakentaminen, luonnonkatastrofi, Tacloban, Ishinomaki, Vancouver.


Abbreviations and Acronyms



Architecture for Humanity Build Back Better Camp Coordination and Camp Management Disaster Risk Reduction Early Recovery Cluster Food and Agriculture Organization Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction Hyogo Framework of Action The Inter-Agency Standing Committee International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Non-governmental organization Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs United Nations United Nations Development Programme United Nations Environment Programme UN Human Settlement Programme United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees United Nations Children’s Fund United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction Water Sanitation and Hygiene Cluster World Bank World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction World Food Programme World Health Organization


VANCOUVER, CANADA Architecture for Humanity, Vancouver Chapter Arthur Leung, Project Leader and Architect Linus Lam, Founder and Architect Jaime Yee, Architect Kali Gordon, Architect University of British Columbia, School of Architecture Leslie van Duzer, Professor and Director of the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture ISHINOMAKI, JAPAN MakiBiz Ishinomaki Akinobu Yoshikawa, Design Fellow at Architecture for Humanity Tohoku University International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS) Liz Maly, Assistant Professor, Ph.D. (Architecture) Architecture for Humanity, Tokyo Chapter William Galloway, Architect, Director at Architecture for Humanity Tokyo TACLOBAN, PHILIPPINES City of Tacloban Jerry Yaokasin, Vice Mayor Jimmy Tiu Yaokasin, City Administrator Annely Yulangco-Yaokasin Gawad Kalinga Operation Walang Iwanan Team Tacloban Our Awesome Planet Anton Diaz, Founder of Our Awesome Planet and Professional Blogger Operation Santa Spanky Hizon Enriques, Corporate Communications Consultant and Social Media Specialist 11


The following definitions are used repeatedly in this thesis. The descriptions of these definitions follow common guidelines within the field of natural disasters and humanitarian response but have also been adapted with my personal interpretations. Community refers to a group of people who inhabit a limited area, and have ties or connections to each other through shared environment and / or culture. Reconstruction is rebuilding, restoring or improving communities and living sites that have been affected by a disaster. Focusing on replacing or restoring damaged or ruined physical structures and infrastructure such as houses, roads, bridges, water supplies, sewage and telecommunications. Resiliency refers to the ability of people, organizations, cities and systems to endure, respond, adapt and recover from stresses and hazards on its social,physical,economic and environmental qualities while maintaining its permanence and ability to function and return its original state. Community resiliency promotes social interaction and community engagement as a key factor in the design of a city. A resilient community would suffer limited negative consequences of a natural hazard and ensure the well-being of people and environment as well as continuity of its economic prosperity. Though resiliency inclines community’s ability to return to its original state, this is not always a positive thing. Community resiliency should also allow the community to adapt and improve its original state. Structural resiliency refers to structural and infrastructural systems ability to withstand natural forces and function before, during and after a natural disaster. Innovative resiliency is a comprehensive design method that considers and addresses multi-hazard risk and vulnerability scenarios with combination of tectonic, technical and programmatic strategies while allowing flexibility in anticipation of changes caused by natural disasters. Locally embedded resiliency highlights the importance of planning and preparing for disasters locally, respecting and embracing the sociocultural structure, maintaining social and family groups of the 12

vulnerable community together and supporting the well-being of survivors in a case of a natural disaster. Natural disaster is an unexpected and sudden event that overwhelms a community or a site. Such situations require international aid. A natural disaster can be caused by e.g. flood, hurricane, wildfires, volcanic eruption, earthquake, tsunami or landslide and it causes vast destruction on the built environment, property and devastation and human suffering. Disaster debris refers to a great amount of waste that remains in the impacted area after a natural disaster such as crushed building components and contents, wreckage, vehicles, and personal property, trees, sand, mud, silt, gravel. Humanitarian aid aims to offer assistance to communities and individuals in need on the basis of concern for human welfare and health. Humanitarian architecture aims to offer professional design services and problem solving skills to projects that include building or reconstruction the physical environment at disaster-affected or poor, developing areas. Shelter is one of basic human needs. It provides a covered, secure, habitable space that offers safety, privacy and protection to individuals residing within. Vulnerability refers to the inability of people in urban or rural areas to endure or respond to environmental hazards. The most vulnerable groups often include people with limitations in mobility. Hazard is the threat of a natural disaster due to geological and geographical position of the inhabited area. Risk is hazard plus vulnerability. Prevention is action towards reducing hazard. Mitigation is action towards reducing vulnerability. Preparedness is action towards improving capacity to react. 13


1 United Nations SecretaryGeneral Ban, 2013, p.3.

According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) report from 2013, more than 4.4 billion people have been affected, and 1.3 million people have died due to cumulative impacts of natural disasters since 1992. Recurring natural disasters directly and indirectly disrupt the lives of millions and the considerable impact disasters pose on people’s lives, the global economy, development and natural ecosystems cause severe longterm consequences both nationally and internationally. 1 Ongoing population growth and rapid urbanization that coincide with climate change and the succession of extensive natural disasters has raised awareness of the vulnerability of our communities and cities. Although hazards such as earthquakes, tropical cyclones, and tsunamis are local in origin, a large scale disaster event reaches beyond its immediate boundaries and represents a risk to the entire global landscape. Addressing the underlying causes of vulnerability to natural disasters requires advocacy and action not only on appropriate building codes and standards but holistic evaluation of vulnerability and risk in the entire community. Rapid and mostly unplanned urban development, particularly in the fast-growing transitional economies bears with it unprecedented levels of risk. This has directed international attention to the theme resiliency.

2 IFRC, Azmat et al. 2012, p. 5.

Critical examination of emergency relief, humanitarian response and reconstruction efforts has brought up a series of repetitive issues and challenges concerning post-disaster aid. Short-term commitments and “quick fix� strategies of assistance programmes disregard social and cultural aspects of the affected community when proposing universal solutions to local design problems. This has lead to longterm economic and social problems in the recovering areas. 2 The disaster to recovery to disaster cycle reveals a continuum and a degree of predictability that requires creative responsiveness in climate adjusted design, pre-disaster planning, and risk management through architectural means. By mapping and analyzing risk and vulnerability in disaster-prone areas, communities can be built and upgraded to confront inevitable crises and the impact of natural disasters mitigated. This thesis seeks to address the following questions: Why can some communities withstand natural disasters better and recover faster


than others? What is the role of resiliency in the ability of a community to endure natural disasters? And how can architecture better support communities to encounter a future disaster event? The objective focuses on shifting the attitudes of disaster response from managing disasters to managing risks. The research in this thesis is drawn from three main sources: literature, interviews of local experts and community members, and personal observations in three case study areas. Over the course of spring 2014, I visited three cities, three countries with three distinctively different cultural and climatological contexts in the Pacific Region that are currently at different stages of the reconstruction cycle. The conducted case studies demonstrate how these cities deal the challenges of the present as well as brings light to their efforts in building towards a more resilient and safer future. This thesis Resiliency and Reconstruction introduces the current timeline of post-natural disaster reconstruction phases, the building typologies that follow a disaster as well as pre-disaster mitigation, risk reduction and preparedness strategies on both local and international levels. This thesis attempts to discover a new layer in designing for disaster by addressing the challenges of vulnerable communities through architecture and planning, gathering ideas for resilient design from detailed solutions at building scale, landscaping to neighborhood design, and city planning. The aim of this thesis is to highlight issues and aspects that are particular to recovering from a natural disaster and that need to be taken into consideration in pre-disaster planning. A strategic shift in the way cities are designed for disaster would enable cities to thrive and revitalize their communities before and after a natural disaster. Finally, this thesis concludes the research and personal observations through presenting a concept of locally embedded resiliency implemented through architecture. This is conducted by carefully evaluating and assessing the needs of communities before a disaster and by offering architectural solutions that not only provide functionality but consider the social and cultural aspects of design that will ultimately empower the community to thrive in a pre-disaster stage and to support communities to recover from the post-disaster challenges. 15


01 Part 1

The Global Landscape of Natural Disasters Post-Disaster Timeline Post-Disaster Building Typologies International Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies Pre-Disaster Risk Reduction, Mitigation, and Preparedness


The Global Landscape of Natural Disasters

3 UNESCO, 2014.

For the purpose of this thesis I have defined a natural disaster as an unexpected and sudden event that overwhelms a community or a site, exceeding the local capacity to respond to the imminent needs of the affected society and require national or international level aid. A natural disaster can be caused by a natural hazard e.g. flood, tropical cyclones, wildfires, volcanic eruption, earthquake, tsunami or landslide. Natural disasters are the consequences of natural hazards that cause vast destruction on the built environment, property and devastation and human suffering in both developing and developed countries. This definition is adapted from the UNESCO definition on natural disasters. 3 Several significant natural disaster in recent years have received media coverage around the globe, and though sympathies and international assistance pours in to help those left to face the destruction, the preoccupation of the global audience is soon directed elsewhere. The assumption of the expected outcome is the recovery and rehabilitation of the community. However, the reality is often different.

4 IFRC, Azmat et al. 2012, p. 5.

The past ten years have included several landmark disasters. In 2004, the Sumatra Earthquake that triggered the Indian Ocean tsunami affected countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The 2005 India-Pakistan Kashmir Earthquake, the 2010 Haiti and Christchurch earthquakes and 2013 Bohol earthquakes are examples of how destructive these events can be when communications, infrastructure and buildings fail. In 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake showed how a chain of disasters followed by an earthquake, including a devastating tsunami and a nuclear crisis, can effect susceptible modern societies and countries that are forerunners in disaster preparedness. The volatility and intensity of recent storms have devastated cities around the globe such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Philippines suffers a number of typhoon annually but Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013 was the strongest storm ever to make landfall in the area. Aside from extreme wind, these events also created destructive storm surges in cities near bodies of water. 4 An added risk is the ongoing urbanization and the fact that more people are now living in metropolitan areas. Forty out of fifty fastest


growing cities are located in earthquake prone areas. The impact of a natural disaster in densely populated areas can be devastating. 5

5 Corsellis and Vitale, 2010, p.14.

The abilities of global cities to confront imminent threat of natural disasters has been brought into international discussion in recent years. Though often unexpected, natural disaster in many places are inevitable. In 2013, a reinsurance company Swiss Re published a report Mind the Risk where it had analyzed 616 global metropolitan areas and listed the ten most riskiest cities in the world based on the probability and vulnerability to natural disasters. 6 European Commission for humanitarian aid and crisis response, reports that costs related to natural disasters have quadrupled in the past three decades and annual costs now exceed 150 billion euros. 7 UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) reports that every euro spent on disaster preparedness and mitigation, governments could save up to seven euros in reconstruction cost, not to mention human lives. However, in 2014, only one percent of international aid is spent on disaster preparedness. 8

6 Swiss Re, Weber, 2014.

7 Georgieva, 2014.

8 UNDP, 2014.

The UNESCO 2007 Disaster Preparedness And Mitigation report written by Barry James identifies a key factor in global landscape of natural disasters by stating that “despite the evidence that the number of extreme events is increasing as a result of global climate change and population pressures, disaster relief rather than risk prevention is generally considered as far more important by aid donors and non-government organizations, as well as by the affected countries themselves.� 9

9 Barry, 2007, p.45.

Understandably, for donors, financing action-based relief efforts is more tangible and quantifiable than financing risk prevention or preparedness strategies because the need for assistance in a post-disaster landscape is strikingly more visible and immediate. On the other hand, benefits from risk prevention are often invisible and difficult to quantify because when successful they further the normal state of a city or community and therefore go unnoticed. However, the global landscape of natural disasters shows alarming signs of possible future scenarios. The volatility of weather related events and disasters are increasing due to global climate change as well as increased population pressures in urban areas is adding to the risk and vulnerability of communities. The role of architecture in preventing natural events from turning into disasters is substantial, as the high number of deaths in disaster events is often caused by poor construction of buildings.


Global Map of Recent Disasters



Global Map of Disaster Hazard

10 Barry, 2007, .21.


This map shows the areas that encounter natural disasters due to geographical and climatological position. A UNESCO 2007 report states that about 94 percent of a natural disasters are caused by four types of natural events – earthquakes, storms, floods and droughts. 10 This map shows the areas that are at risk of these hazards and how they overlap especially in the Pacific region.


This map shows the ten riskiest cities as identified by the 2013 Swiss Re Mind the Risk report as well as disaster hotspots based on probability of future earthquake or volcanic eruption event and the cumulative effects on an urban area.



Natural Disasters And The Impacts On Built Environment The following is a description of the causes and cumulative impacts of common natural disasters. Understanding the impacts natural disasters have on the built environment and that the worst disasters are not caused by strong winds or tremors but the poor construction of buildings, infrastructure and planning of cities is vital in order to understand the situation of urbanization in disaster-prone areas properly. Earthquakes Earthquakes are caused by the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates. The plates shift or adjust either pressing against, sliding aside or slipping under another plate. This differential movement causes tremors often measured by magnitude on the Richter scale. Though, largely studies, the accurate location and occurrence of earthquakes is nearly impossible to determine. Scientist have been able to trace the occurrence of past earthquakes to create future prediction on expected next plate movements. 11

11 Barry, 2007, p.21.

Earthquake tremors are not in themselves dangerous to people but the cumulative effects such as liquefaction, tsunamis, fires, landslides and collapse of buildings and infrastructure due to shaking can have devastating consequences. Tsunami

12 National Tsunami Warning Center, 2014.

Tsunami is a large ocean wave with distinctively long wavelength caused by a sudden movement of submarine mass. This is commonly caused by an earthquake, volcanic eruption or landslide. According to the National Tsunami Warning Center tsunami can move at a speed up to 970 km/h. As it approaches land and shallow depths, the wave slows down in speed and gathers height. The underwater topography of the shore has a large effect on the wave type as it hits the shore. Tsunamis can travel across oceans and can transform energy from a disaster event from one side of the globe to the other. 12 Landslides

13 Barry, 2007, p.32.

Landslide is a massive and rapid movement of soil and rock on an unstable slope often caused by seismic tremors or uncharacteristically high water content in the soil due to heavy rainfall. 13 Liquefaction Liquefaction is the destabilization of the soil strata caused by water saturation and shaking. This causes the soil to behave as a liquid. This occurs during an earthquake in low lying areas with fine soils and sediments near large bodies of water, such as river deltas.


Floods Flooding is defined by the inability of soil to absorb surface water. Natural flooding often occurs during heavy rainfall seasons and snow melts. Flooding is a hazard when it occurs in densely populated areas. 14

14 Barry, 2007, p.26.

Tropical cyclones Tropical cyclones, locally also known as hurricanes or typhoons, are high velocity storms formed in distinctive locations in the equatorial oceans and follow a normal patterns of direction and season. These storms bring extreme winds and can cause destructive storm surges in coastal areas. Global warming and future sea level rise will increase the hazard and volatility of these storms. 15

15 Barry, 2007, p.28.

Droughts and decertification Another consequence of changing climate is the occurrence, duration and location of droughts and decertification. Drought is a long period of dry weather or state of decreased ground water. Decertification is a state of permanent drought. 16

16 Barry, 2007, p.30.

Volcanoes Volcanoes are points where the Earth’s magma meets the surface of the crust. Volcanic eruptions can be very violent and sudden or slow and calm. Explosive volcanic eruptions occur near plate boundaries and are accompanied by deadly flows of gas and dust as well as hot lava, tremors and mud flows. 17

17 Barry, 2007, p.34.





tropical cyclone

volcanic eruption




Post-Disaster Timeline

The following chapters present the post-disaster timeline and the process of reconstruction based on industry standards as used by several international aid organizations. The cycle of reconstruction works as a guideline and the phases presented in the timeline vary and overlap according to local conditions and type of disaster. The following critical overview of the post-disaster timeline and the process of reconstruction is not intended to argue against the model of disaster relief but to seek for a change which ultimately negates the need for the current method of disaster response. Though the focus of this thesis is in the role of architects in disaster resiliency, understanding the phenomenon holistically is vital. Rebuilding after a natural disaster happens in phases. From meeting the immediate needs of disaster survivors to aiding the community to rebuild and recover, the process takes years and changes as time goes by and new challenges emerge. And finally these communities are back in a phase that many cities and communities around the world are; in await of the next big disaster. This creates a cycle of building and rebuilding; some cycles are shorter than others.

18 Scribner and Herzer, 2011, p.5.

The difficulty in responding to a disaster is the two conflicting yet equally important needs: Firstly, the need for speed, quick response to a disaster in order to save lives, offer relief and provide safety; and secondly, the need to take the time to assess and understand the situation and needs of the affected community in order to help the community in both the short-term and long-term recovery. 18 The cycle here starts with a natural disaster. Though varied in intensity, destructiveness and type, all natural disaster can disrupt a city’s or a community’s ability to function in providing its habitants a safe and humane living environment. Often what is left is chaos. Starting the cycle from the disaster is purely reacting to immediate needs. Propelled by the post-disater circumstances aid organizations and governments rush in to offer assistance as early as possible. Phases followed immediately after a disaster are response and rescue, relief and shelter. Then starts the rehabilitation of the community. Aid organizations follow a system of responding


where rather than asking what is needed, they offer what is available. Unfamiliar community, culture and language add to the misperceptions and disconnection between relief workers and the affected community. This often leads to misdirected funds and actions that might have long-lasting consequences. Long-term recovery plans require an understanding of the affected community in order to be able to offer sustainable solutions for rebuilding. 19 A disaster often results in displaced people and a need for temporary or permanent relocation. Managing debris, repairing and rebuilding buildings and infrastructure can take years and the road to physical and psychological recovery is slow. Yet, when planning a disaster aid mission, organizations have to also plan an exit day. A day when all external assistance on site seizes and the community has to move on on its own. This day is often only six months or a year after a disaster. 20

19 Scribner and Herzer, 2011, p.23.

20 Scribner and Herzer, 2011, p.23.

As a new disaster approaches, preparedness and mitigation actions can help cities and communities better respond when facing a disaster. The cycle is completed at the event of another natural disaster.


Relocation Planning Reconstruction Response Relief


Affected Community


Preparedness and mitigation

period of displacement

Cycle of Reconstruction


Response and Relief Responding to a natural disaster happens at many levels and in many scales. Varying from local people to multinational organizations, from distriputing blankets to managing vast tent accommodation sites, disaster response is a field of humanitarian aid that consumes resources and funds. Most importantly, the most significant consideration in natural disaster response is the critical role of timing.

21 IFRC, Azmat et al. 2012, p.7.

During and immediately after a natural disaster the most important procedure is to secure life safety by taking shelter or evacuating. Early warning systems help give more time to evacuate shorelines in case of a storm or a tsunami. The knowhow of reacting to a natural phenomenon in disaster-prone areas often comes from education or auricular tradition. Earthquake drills in are a common example of a disaster simulation. 21 The natural event often passes within hours or a few days. Response, rescue and relief efforts start immediately after the event has passed. Local communities and survivors are the first responders. Rescue missions are vital within the first days and alerting national and international assistance groups of the situation on ground helps better mobilize and organize volunteer groups. It is important that the community members can remain self-sufficient the first days after a disaster since it can take days for national and international assistance groups to reach remote locations. After a disaster, basic human needs are met by distribution of relief goods such as food, water and medical aid as well as shelters and other items including blankets, flashlights, and clothes. Fast distribution is often compromised due to damages to roads and large amounts of debris. The condition of airports, roads, bridges and harbours factor in how much time it takes to get the initial relief goods and medical aid into the disaster area. Managing displaced people and assembling emergency shelters will take place over the first weeks. Often shipped onto site by international donors and aid organizations, the initial shelters are usually tents or other structures that are lightweight and fast to assemble. Architects working in the field of humanitarian response have contributed by creating designs for temporary structures for a post-disaster landscape. These structures often fail to solve long-term shelter needs and are more expensive and therefore go unutilized by assistance groups. One of the main weaknesses of the current strategy of disaster aid is the failure to responde to the long-term needs of the affected


community and survivors. Though assistance groups are highly commited to alleviating suffering and offering relief, neglecting the possibility of utilizing the network on ground not only overlooks the local community as a great asset of knowledge but also disconnects the recipiencts of the aid from the donors. Several studies in the field of post-disaster aid highlight the fact that humanitarian response is more effective when it is based on an understanding of the needs, vulnerabilities, interests, capacities, coping strategies, and sociocultural qualities of the affected community. 22 Due to the chaotic state of a post-disaster area, and the need for quick response, outside groups tend to centralize their relief effords in order to ease the administrations of the response. However, this system is critisized of managing bureaucratic needs rather than the needs of the affected community. 23 Scribner and Herzer (2011) raise the question of unintended consequences of this type of disaster relief efforts in their publication of a three part seminar that collected perspectives on resiliency: “... it was also clear that at a disaster site, there were often problems with responders and with their perceptions of what was needed and their methods for doing the work. Though they were there, in principle, to aid those most harmed by the disaster and to help them get back on their feet, they tended to have flawed or nonexistent relationships with those on the ground, those most affected by the disaster. This often led to ineffectual and sometimes even harmful and destructive actions, policies, and plans. And it also tended to lead to efforts that worked against, or certainly did not enhance, a community’s resilience.� 24

22 Greaney, Pfiffner, and Wilson, 2011 p. 15.

23 Scribner and Herzer, 2011, p.26.

24 Scribner and Herzer, 2011, p.5.

Another important aspect of managing disaster relief, is managing how to decrease the need of relief over time. Natural disasters often result in the loss of livelihoods which can lead to prolonged need for assistance. The role of restoring livelihoods will be further explained in the Recovery chapter. International


Local Affected Community

The Relation of Time and Distance of Response Actors


Pattern of Post-Disaster Organization The pattern of post-disaster organization is divided into two opposite ends and a series of levels in between. On one end, there are the survivors and the affected community and the other is external donors, experts and organizations.

25 Scribner and Herzer, 2011, pp.83-84.

26 Scribner and Herzer, 2011, p.30.

27 Corsellis and Vitale, 2010, p.27.

28 Scribner and Herzer, 2011, p.86.

The local community members and survivors hold the essential knowledge and networks as first reponders and can offer a more culturally based responde. However, funding and expertise is often needed from an external level. A link between these two levels is often difficult to create. 25 As such, post-disaster aid tends to override and replace the abilities to responde within the affected community. The pattern of post-disaster organization is a complicated hierarchy of international and national aid groups, governments and municipalities, military or peacekeeping forces, experts and donors. Magaging these members in a post-disaster situation has led to a centralized system that alienates local communities and survivors from the involvement and often makes them only recepients of disaster response. 26 Responsibilities and assignments are divided amongs several organizations and global clusters based on their distinctive specialties. Different organizations tend to different needs and areas such as early recovery, education, shelters and camp coordination, healthcare, nutrition, logistics, protection, and communications.27 Overlapping of responsibilities within these fields add to the confusion and challenges of handling a chaotic post-disaster landscape. Systems that would allow opportunities for self-help and community empowerment that would ultimately offer a more culturally-based response are being disgarded due to the urgency of reacting to the needs at hand. 28 A side effect of the presence of several international aid groups in a disaster-struck city is an artificial and impermanent economy bubble it creates. As foreign money pours in, several entrepreneurs can build back their businesses rather quickly, but as the situation normalizes, the reality of the economic situation in the city can often be devistatingly different. This is another unintended consequence of international assistance programmes. The diagram on the right shows my interpretation of how different groups are placed in relation to their connection and relationship to an affected community. The further they place, the more disconnected they are.


External donor governments

External voluntary agencies and international aid organizations

External military

Foreign experts (Architects)

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

Local voluntary groups

Local administration

Local military

National government

Affected Community


The Relation of Response Actors and Connetions to Affected Community


Planning Reconstruction Planning the process of reconstruction starts with assessing the damage and destruction of the built environment together with the needs and resources of the affected community. The process of community rehabilitation includes setting up collaborations to understand the context of reconstruction, managing infrastructure and logistics in land use, clearing areas and securing connections as well as setting up goals and objectives to start the process of reconstruction. Planning relocations and managing debris require an understanding and ability to perform long-term planning and city development. Before deciding suitable sites for relocation and temporary housing, the sites for future permanent construction should be mapped to prevent overlapping phases in land use. The challenge of planning reconstruction is to find suitable land to build on in a post-disaster landscape.

29 Minnery, 2014, pp.133-134.

Evaluating buildings enables planners to determine which constructions require minor or major repairs and which ones need to be replaced with new construction or rebuild elsewhere. Rapid assessment determines whether a building is safe to inhabit and on what conditions whereas detailed assessment is needed to determine the condition of complex constructions. 29 Difficulties arise because the majority of planning is done only a few months after a disaster has happened but the implementation of these plans might not start until a few years into the postdisaster reconstruction. As the members of the affected community scatter over the period of displacement, it becomes more difficult to adapt plans in order to restore the original community and support community resilience. Scribner and Herzer gather shared insights from the Wilson Center Seminar participants on community rehabilitation:

30 Scribner and Herzer, 2011, p.84.

“ – – (to) understand that community’s priorities evolve over time and to be flexible. It is a dynamic process and not just something that can be planned at the beginning and then implemented straight through. It is important to listen to the changing needs and have the flexibility to adapt to them.” 30 “ –– Participants came from Bosnia, Burundi, Canada, Haiti, Kenya, Pakistan, Rwanda, South Africa, Thailand, and the United States. They represented a wide range of perspectives and professions: humanitarian professionals and community organizers, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), public health professionals, and scholars, – – (and) spoke of their experiences and efforts with natural and human-

31 Scribner and Herzer, 2011, p.4 .


made disasters and disaster relief and recovery. “ 31

Period of Displacement Period of displacement after a natural disaster starts from the initial evacuation and can last from a day to several years. Temporary or permanent relocation of displaced people after a natural disaster is often inevitable and can lead to uprooting the community members from their familiar social groups. Initial relocation phase gathers people in emergency centers or shelters and partly with family members, other communities and cities. Tents and emergency centers are only a solution for the first weeks or in worse cases, months. Building of temporary housing starts as soon as sites for relocation has been determined or cleared. People whose houses pass the building assessment and are repairable can often return home faster whereas people whose houses were badly damaged, destroyed or were located in an area that is labeled risky face a long period of displacement. In more extreme cases, some cities or parts of a city are relocated based on risk assessment. Large scale relocations are rarely successful and often fail to take into consideration people’s livelihoods, support communal services, infrastructure or environmental impacts. 32 However, relocation and creation of new settlements is sometimes inevitable for preventing future disasters and offering safer living environment. In these cases the proximity of the new settlement to services need to be planned and executed simultaniously with new housing in order to create a continuous access to public facilities such as health care and education. 33

32 Corsellis and Vitale, 2010, p.17.

33 IFRC, Azmat et al. 2012, p.60.

relocation site new city

new construction

affected community


temporary housing

self settlement

family members

Spacial patterns of relocation



34 Corsellis and Vitale, 2010, p.18.

Evaluating whether a building needs to be retrofitted, repaired, relocated, or rebuild is done on the basis of damage assessment. The reconstruction of damaged buildings after a natural disaster should aim for safer building and prevention of future damage. 34 The first step is to determine whether the affected site is safe for reconstruction. On the basis of risk assessment, buildings are often assigned to be relocated to a safer site. Retrofitting means adjusting an existing building to better withstand effects caused by natural hazards, such as wind loads and tremors. This reguires an understanding of local conditions and hazards and can result in major changes in the building. More complex construction such as healthcare facilities and schools require the involvement of engineers and specialists.

35 Greaney, Pfiffner, and Wilson, 2011, pp. 263-265.

36 Corsellis and Vitale, 2010, p.18.

Buildings that have been sustained only minor damages can often be repaired. Local communities can be supported in the repairing process by enabling self-help and offering materials, tools, and proper instructions. However, the excessive use of local building materials after a disaster can cause additional and substantial damage to the local natural environment as the need for materials like wood and metal exceeds the natural supply. 35 Rebuilding requires the demolition of a unrepairable building and reconstructing it onto its original site. 36 Due to the destructive nature of disasters, managing the vast amounts of building debris adds additional stress onto the affected community.




Is the site






Corsellis and Vitale, 2010, p.17.

Strategy of Reconstruction Assessment Process



Recovery Natural disasters alter cities’ functional and social routines. Recovering does not only mean repairing physical structures of the city but addressing the social and psychological damages. After a natural disaster the community remains vulnerable and long-term effects of natural disasters are often not sufficiently studied or addressed. Recognizing the complex psychological effects disasters have, and the problems people face in a post-disaster topia is key to aiding communities towards a successful recovery. The process of grief and mourning has a distinctive timeline of its own that differs from the timeline of rebuilding. According to the American Psychological Association APA, disaster events can trigger psychological reactions that might not be characteristic to the person and in worst cases lead to long-term depression and stress-related symptoms. Time, communicating experiences and reestablishing routines have been found to help survivors in the process of recovery. 37

37 American Psychological Association, 2013.

In order to aid recovery, response measures should include business continuity plans, community empowerment plans, education and long-term social welfare assistance. A community that can function and provide continuity to its inhabitants can remain attractive and continue to develop and recover. Supporting local people and developing their skills after a disaster is vital for recovery. By providing assistance in restoring livelihoods helps restore routine and independence. While governments, military, and major international organizations are experienced and better suited for large scale disaster response operations, leading the recovery and reconstruction requires advocacy from private sectors. 38 Offering long-term support and services for the affected community requires presence on site and establishing networks within community members. Architects can act as facilitators, creating networks between different disciplines and community members and offer concepts and designs for reconstruction. In conclusion, recovery as a term embodies the act of overcoming and returning to normal. When discussing the end of a post-disaster rebuilding process, the default is recovery. The contradiction in using this term comes from simultanious use when refering to different components: the recovery of a city as a built environment, the recovery of an individual and the recovery of a local community. Reseach shows humans are resilient by nature and can overcome tragedies. 39 Cities can be rebuild. Still, the extensive use of the term recovery in the postdisaster response industry begs the question: is there recovery after a natural disaster?

38 Minnery, 2014, p.137.

39 American Psychological Association, 2013.


Post-Disaster Building Typologies

This chapter gathers different building typologies that are related to responding to a natural disaster.

40 Corsellis and Vitale, 2010, p.210.

41 Corsellis and Vitale, 2010, p.210.

3,5m2 2m

42 Greaney, Pfiffner, and Wilson, 2011, p. 259.


Many disaster-prone areas have assigned evacuation centers in case of a disaster. These are usually schools or other public buildings that allow assembly of crowds. Evacuation centers can often act as initial mass accommodation facilities. Large gyms and stadiums can be divided using partition walls and curtains for added privacy. Evacuation Centers offer shelter for the first days or weeks after a disaster. Common guideline is 3.5 m2 of floor space per person. 40 Many of the initial shelters are shipped into the disaster area from abroad and assembled on site. Quick assessment of building damage and shelter needs determines the amount of tents to be delivered. Difficulties with this type of assessment is that it often overlooks informal inhabitants and seldom results into accurate estimate of real needs. A typical shelter unit is a light weight structure which allows large numbers of units to be transported into the disaster area as well as rapid assembly using limited amount tools or other equipment. United Nations and IFRC are the main providers of emergency tents for housing, healthcare, and education purposes. Each tent is designed to house 4-6 people, ideally of the same family. 41 Tents are used for the first months after a disaster. This puts pressure on rebuilding efforts, as in many areas, seasonal changes limit the time tents and light-weight structures can be used. Tents are commonly placed close proximity to the damaged buildings and homes. Large disasters might require centralized camp sites that are often managed by the local military. Temporary housing is a form of building that is meant to offer disaster survivors housing for short to medium time displacement. Typically, units are fully or partially pre-fabricated and assembled on site. Temporary units are designed to house members of the affected community until more permanent reconstruction is completed or they are able to move to a permanent accommodation. However, this can take several years. Transitional Shelter Design guidelines by Shelter Cluster suggest a life span of a temporary unit to be 2-5 years, offer minimum 3.5m2 per person and the minimum height 2 meters. 42

The limitations of temporary structures include lack of space, and adaptability. More space for personal belongings or even livestock have been required by disaster survivors. A more current trend in temporary settlement design is the concept of transitional housing. The limitations of temporary units has originated concepts of units that could be upgraded, reused, resold, or recycled. Nevertheless, temporary settlements are criticed of being resource intensive and taking attention from permanent reconstruction options. Building temporary units not only occupies land area that could be used for rebuilding but also reduces the sense of urgency amongst disaster aid organizations, donors and governments. This can ultimately lead to temporary units turning into permanent solutions as the resources dwindle regardless of the fact that the units were designed to last no more than a few years. Moreover, manouvering units, assemblying and disassemblying consumes resourses and adds to the over all negative impact on the environment and the amount of debris. 43

43 IFRC, Azmat et al. 2012, p.47.

In some cases, cities can also offer different forms of rental and social housing or arrange communal living quarters to ease the housing shortage. Other temporary structures include field hospitals or healthcare units and units for educational purposes. These are used to provide spaces when existing public facilities have been badly damaged or destroyed after a natural disaster. 44

44 Greaney, Pfiffner, and Wilson, 2011, pp. 299.


International Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies

Disaster risk is increasingly a concern to the global community. Several international disaster preparedness conferences gather professionals, country representatives and organizations to work together on strategies that could prevent large scale disasters in the future.

45 HFA, Unisdr.org, 2005.

In 2005, the second World Conference of Disaster Reduction was held in Kobe, Japan, less than a month after the Indian Ocean Tsunami. This conference adopted the Hyogo Declaration and agreed on a ten-year plan for increasing the resilience of nations and communities to disasters, called the Hyogo Framework of Action 2005-2015. The objective of this Framework is to reduce disaster losses by building resiliency, to act against the underlying causes of vulnerability, and to systematically integrate risk reduction and preparedness strategies into national and governmental policies, plans and programmes. 45 The Hyogo Framework acts as a guideline for countries that assists them to assess risk factors, better cope with hazards, and to become more resilient. Such actions include research on natural hazards, integrading early warning systerms, and building capacity in vulnerable nations. Furthermore, a part of the aim is implementing anti-poverty programs and raising public awareness through education which directly reduces vulnerability.

46 Barry, 2007, p.17.

The five priorities for action include (1) intergrating disaster risk reduction into regulations and ensuring community participation in planning. (2) Mapping and understanding local hazards helps better adapt to each community’s needs. (3) Providing sufficient information and ensuring that invaluable knowledge is passed through and understood at local level prepares communities to react to a natural hazards. (4) Building codes for safer building, avoiding inhabiting risk zones, and maintaining natural barriers for hazards improve communities and reduces risk of a disaster. (5) And finally, by maintaining a routine of risk assessment and mitigation actions communities can be more prepared to act in case of a disaster. 46 In 2015, the third World Conference will be held in Sendai, Japan. The Sendai Conference will introduce the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction or HFA2.


1 Ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and a local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation. 2 Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning. 3 Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels. 4 Reduce the underlying risk factors. 5 Strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels.

Hyogo Framework of Action – Five Priorities For Action


Pre-Disaster Risk Reduction, Mitigation, and Preparedness

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator W. Craig Fugate states that

47 Fugate, 2011, p.2.

“ Effective mitigation can break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. It supports preparedness, eases response, speeds recovery, and lessens the financial burden on communities.� 47 This chapter will gather more detailed solutions from disaster risk reduction, mitigation, and preparedness at building scale as well as urban planning guidelines for disaster-prone areas. Architects can work as advocates ensuring important mitigation actions are followed throughout city planning and building designs. Firstly, risks related to urban areas can be mitigated through properly analysing sites that are suitable for building. By mapping disasterprone areas such as flood plains, costal areas, and areas with instable soil, cities are able to make more informed and safe decitions on where to build and manage safer urban development.

48 Minnery, 2014, pp.132-133.

Typical disater preparedness elements in an urban environment include marked emergency routes, early warning systems and warning signs and public assembly spaces for managing evacuations. Cities have also incorporated green infrastructure into their urban fabric in order to enhance ecological resilience. These include systems such as storm water infrastructure to reduce urban flooding and coastal wetlands buffers against storm surges. 48 Another aspect in preparing for disaster events is to predeterimine areas for debris management and temporary relocations. One of the challenges in post-disaster planning is to find suitable land. By predetermining these sites, the city can act faster in proving its inhabitants a safe and well connected shelter community for the period of displacement. Given the vast amount of built mass in cities, especially the increasing amount of unregulated buildings, it is nearly impossible to ensure the safe performance of each building. However, securing the safety of lifeline buildings such as hospitals and schools is high on priority for these facilities are required to remain functional immediately after


a natural disaster. 49 Furthermore, cities can regulate building safety through two main means: retrofitting excisting buildings to meet higher standards of disaster security and by setting new building codes for new construction in order to ensure safer performance in the case of a disaster event. The purpose of building codes and retrofits is merely to enhance structural endurance in case of a disaster event and ensure life safety by preventing or prolonging the failure of structural elements. For example, in earthquake-prone areas, unstable buildings have been retrofitted by adding tensile strength with metal cross beams to take tension loads caused by tremors. Building codes can state minimum reguirements for structures to withstand natural phenomenon suchs as heavy wind, water level rise and tremors. Other qualities that can have a possitive effect on mitigating damages to buildings are the form and materials of the constructions. 50 However, solely securing structures does not mean that buildings remain inhabitable in a case of a disaster. Non-structural elements, such as windows, ceilings, furniture and equipments add to the overall permormance of a building in case of a sudden natural event.

49 IFRC, Azmat et al. 2012, p.28

50 IFRC, Azmat et al. 2012, p.26.

Ultimately, mitigation actions not only secure the built environment but prepare the local community to act in the event of a disaster. Well planned cities would embody a system of risk reduction and better responde to disasters. The challenge of the current risk mitigation process is that it is seen as an economic burden and enhancing the current state of vulnerable cities is a process that takes years. Nevertheless, the pre-disaster risk reduction work done to reduce the impact of a natural event has a direct, possitive effect on post-disaster work. 51

51 Scribner and Herzer, 2011, p.85.

emergency routes

lifeline building


assembly space

building codes

shape and material


02 Part 2

Documentation of Three Case Studies Tacloban, Philippines Ishinomaki, Japan Vancouver, Canada

Case Studies

The selection of the case study cities was based on three criteria: each city was to represent a different phase of the reconstruction circle, entail an element of future risk of natural disaster and offer accessibility for field study. Over the course of spring 2014, I moved to Vancouver, Canada to volunteer for Architecture for Humanity on their resiliency project Next Big One. Vancouver is situated near a subduction zone that experiences high magnitude earthquakes every 300-500 years. Last of these earthquakes was in 1700 which puts Vancouver now in an expectancy period of the next big one. Living and working in Vancouver provided me a unique view of the city, its people, and the attitudes towards this looming future event. As I was preparing to travel to Vancouver in the autumn of 2013, the most powerful typhoon ever to make landfall in the Philippines hit on November 8th. Tacloban, a city greatly devastated by this typhoon, appeared on the news for ten days until the media focused its lens on somewhere else. Given the devastation and lack of information, I wanted to know more about the situation in Tacloban and decided to travel there six months after the typhoon to view the situation and progress of reconstruction. To understand the timespan of reconstruction I was also interested in visiting a city that had experienced a natural disaster in the last 3-5 years. I narrowed my decision down to two events, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I was introduced to a city of Ishinomaki, Japan through a friend who visited the city in September 2013. She informed me how the city was struggling to get back on its feet and how thousands of people were still living in temporary housing units, nearly three years after the disaster. I selected Ishinomaki as my third case study city. The goal of this primary research was to understand the phenomenon of reconstruction and resiliency through experiencing the local and most current situation, gathering local opinions and experiences through qualitative interviews of selected professionals as well as engaging with the local communities and environment.


All three case studies ended up having different characters. In Tacloban, I was able to engage with the local community more

Three case study cities on world map

directly and gather notes from community members about the events of the disaster. In Japan, the conversations I had with experts in the field of resiliency and post-disaster aid revealed a more global perspective to architecture and resiliency. In Vancouver, I was living in the city and started imagining myself there in the event of a disaster. How would I cope? Would I be prepared? Any number of cities could have been selected but the hope was that the issues represented through these studies shed light on the issues many places around the world are left to face before and after a disaster, and the importance of local culture and people as key factors when discussing architecture, resiliency and natural disaster aid.



Tacloban Six months after a natural disaster



Personal notes, May 16th, 2014

The plane lands onto an area that seems isolated and empty. The runway is aligned with water and ruins of what used to be family homes. I walk out of the air conditioned cabin into the hot and humid air that immediately feels like an invisible wall. The airport is not an airport anymore, it’s a beaten shell. I follow the crowd to get my luggage. The airport employees carefully place the bags onto the broken belt in this open air arrival hall. I grab my bag and head out through the tarp covered walkway onto a parking lot. Greeted by dozens of eager drivers, I follow one into a car and a 20 minute drive to the hotel begins. The views along the road are shocking. Ruins of buildings, piles of corrugated metal sheets, wires, boards, tires, upside-down cars, torn up trees and, people. People, who now have little or nothing left of their homes and city. “No Build Zone” signs mark the first 40 metres from the water, an area now filled with self-made settlements. The car curves to the right and continues along the sea front. Small sari-sari vendors have placed a table and a chair under a sunshade and are selling mangos by the road. Behind them are piles of building debris and tents marked UNHCR donated by the United Nations Refugee Agency. I have arrived in Tacloban – six months after Typhoon Yolanda.

51 Emergency Tents in Tacloban, May 2014 Photo: Milja Lindberg

Tacloban, Philippines

One of the main objectives of this chapter is to highlight issues and aspects that made Tacloban vulnerable to the devastation of typhoon Yolanda on the November 8th, 2013. Furthermore, this chapter collects a series of personal notes from my time in Tacloban in the spring of 2014, and notes from people living in this post-disaster landscape. City profile

52 City Government of Tacloban.

Tacloban is located on the island of Leyte, Philippines, 580km southeast of the country’s capital Manila. As a city with an airport, Tacloban is an important gateway to the Visayas islands in the middle parts of the country. According to the official record from 2010, the city had 221 174 inhabitants. The city spreads onto an area of 201.72km2 and is divided into 138 barangays (districts). Prior to the typhoon, Tacloban had 45 478 households with the average household size of 5.1 persons. 52 Tacloban, similarly to many other cities in the fast growing economies of southeast Asia, is tackling the challenges of rapidly increasing urban population and the issues associated with the declining fishing and coconut industries. The Daniel Romualdez airport has a significant role in the socioeconomic stability of the city by bringing with it a steady flow of tourists. The city’s unique character is defined by the eventful history of colonization periods of the Philippines by Spain and the United States and the distinctive role Tacloban and the Leyte area had in the political duel of the Marcos and the Aquino presidential families. The strong presence of Roman Catholic religion is evident in the daily routines of the people in Tacloban and in the fabric of religious buildings and constructions within the city.


Map of Philippines


Risk and vulnerability analysis Tacloban is located in an area that encounters a variety of frequent climatological challenges due to its topographical and geographical position and orientation.

53 WWF, 2013, p. 103.

54 TRRP Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan, 2014, p. 6.

55 WWF, 2013, p. 97.

56 WWF, 2013, p. 104.

Tacloban is bordered by a range of mountains in the north and west and open Pacific ocean in the south and east. Populated areas of Tacloban sit in between these two bordering elements at an average elevation of three meters above sea level. The city faces the direction where majority of annual typhoons arrive. 53 During a typhoon season from June to December, the city is exposed to an average of 20 typhoons every year. 54 Low-lying areas combined with heavy rainfall profile makes the city highly vulnerable to flooding. Rainfall triggers landslides especially near populated areas upland. 55 The location and exposure of the city’s airport makes the connecting gateway highly vulnerable to both typhoons and flooding. 56 Philippines is also at risk of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Less than a month before typhoon Yolanda, a nearby island of Bohol was struck by a strong earthquake that killed 222 people and damaged 73 000 buildings.

57 Philippine Statistics Authority, 2013.

58 WWF, 2013, p. 98.


Though the number of households with better building materials had increased in the past ten years, the number of houses with lower quality materials was still relatively high prior to Typhoon Yolanda. These buildings were at higher risk of collapse during strong winds. 57

housing outer walls:

roof material:

concrete / brick / stone : 44.9 %

galvanized iron / aluminum : 80.2 %

wood : 38.7 %

cogon / nipa / anahaw : 14.3 %

High level of rapid urbanization in Tacloban has created added risk due to the increase in densely populated areas and uncontrolled development in high risk, disaster-prone costal areas. 58

Map of Typhoons and Earthquakes

Map of Philippines


Tacloban North

Mass Grave

San Juanico Bridge



St.Paul’s Hospital

Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport Convention Center

Tacloban City Hospital


November 8th, 2013

59 TRRP Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan, 2014, p. 5.

On November 8, 2013 the southeastern Philippines were struck by the most powerful storm to make landfall on the country’s record. Typhoon Haiyan, known locally in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda devastated towns and cities in its path. Tacloban was among the worst-hit cities in the Philippines. Wind speed exceeded 378 km/hr and a 4 to 6 meters high tsunami-like storm surge washed over the city causing majority of the damage. 59 Due to the city’s large population, high level of urbanization, geographical location and unprotected and low lying coastal areas, Tacloban was uniquely vulnerable to Typhoon Yolanda.

60 TRRP Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan, 2014, pp. 7-8.

Out of 45 478 houses, 28 734 were fully damaged and 17 643 partially damaged by the typhoon and storm surge. Many important public buildings including the city hall, elementary schools, colleges and hospitals were built at the high risk coastal areas and were among the structures first inundated by the storm surge. All seven hospitals and 17 health centers as well as 90 percent of all schools were badly damaged. 60 Another factor to the high level of damage in Tacloban was the false assessment of risk and the lack of preparedness for the storm surge. A level 5 typhoon warning was given the day before but the storm surge was not expected. Situated at a peninsula the city’s airport was severely damaged which made it difficult to bring in emergency goods.

61 UNISDR, 2014.

Discussions with local Taclobanos. May 2014.


Prior to the typhoon, the San Juanico bridge that connects the island of Leyte to neighboring Samar island was identified as a vital lifeline and important connecting infrastructure. The Mayor of Tacloban Alfred S. Romualdez ordered all ships to be moved out of Tacloban Bay to protect the bridge. According to the mayor, damage on the bridge would have left Tacloban completely isolated. 61 As a result of the high winds most of the city’s electricity network was damaged which caused additional difficulties and insecurity among survivors. After sunset the city was in pitch black darkness. According to a local Filipino man, the lack of lights at night made a huge psychological effect to the well-being of survivors, slowed down relief efforts and made the city feel highly unsafe. Furthermore, with loss of connections to the outside world, reports from the situation in Tacloban and initial organization of relief aid was coordinated from Cebu City, 160km southwest from Tacloban.

“Our neighbor is a boat”. Three cargo ships crashed ashore as a result of Typhoon Yolanda. Tacloban, May 2014. Photo: Milja Lindberg

Destroyed structures and an upside-down car. Tacloban May 2014 Photo: Milja Lindberg




Note from tenants “We saw the ship approaching, headed towards our house. We were trapped on the second floor. It came closer and closer and then ... it stopped.�

Tacloban, May 2014 Photo: Milja Lindberg

Discussions with people in Tacloban

“They gave a warning for a level 5 typhoon. We had never got a level 5 warning before, so, no one knew what to expect. Everyone stocked food and water in the kitchens in case there will be power outages. No one expected a storm surge. A tsunami-like wave came and washed away everything. Unfortunately, kitchens here are often on the first floor. All food was gone.” “It came so fast. The water reached the ceiling and washed through the city. It was all over in 15 minutes and all that was left was destruction.” “The days followed by the typhoon were disorganized, there was no electricity, no way to communicate to outside the city, debris everywhere. The aid organizations came on the second day and started immediate relief operations. There was no rescue.” “People walked endlessly not knowing where to go. Most people went to the City Hall to get help but the City Hall people wanted to go to the emergency centers to distribute food to everyone.” “At first, people were looting for food items but by day three the looting had turned into organized operation and they were taking everything they could get their hands on. Especially electrical wires and car tires. Someone even took the mascot of a local fast food restaurant Jolly Bees and held it hostage for 5000PES.”


Destroyed building by the coast in Tacloban, May 2014 Photo: Milja Lindberg

Children taking cover from the rain under a cargo ship in Tacloban, May 2014 Photo: Milja Lindberg


Six Months After Typhoon Yolanda Six months after typhoon Yolanda the city had cleared most roads of debris. International assistance groups were still present in the city offering help in fulfilling basic human needs such as food, water and shelter. Most organization are expected to leave by the end of the year 2014.

62 TRRP Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan, 2014, p.77.

According to official reconstruction plans issued in March 2014, the city aims to clear the vulnerable coastal areas of residents, both formal and informal. The downtown area will be reconstructed for historical and tourism purpose and even plans about relocating the city airport have been in discussion. Levees and coastal buffer zones would be used to help keep future water level rise from affecting the city. 62 Emergency Shelters

Touring Tacloban with Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin.

Tacloban received emergency tents and tarpaulins from the UNHCR to cover initial shelter needs. Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin estimates that around 1000 families are still living in emergency tents after six months. Tents have not been the best solution for emergency shelters as Tacloban experiences heavy winds and rainfall repeatedly. Bunkhouses

64 CCCM Philippines, 2014, p.10.

63 CCCM Philippines, 2014, p.5.

Department of Public Works and Highways DPWH was commissioned to build temporary housing units for those displaced by the typhoon. The city’s efforts in building temporary housing units has gotten attention due to the low quality, inhumane living space and high prices of units. Main deficiencies have included privacy and hygiene. Out of three temporary housing areas – Motocross Bunkhouses, NHA Bunkhouses, and Abucay Depot Bunkhouses – only Motocross has been able to receive inhabitants. The other did not offer any electricity or water. After six months 292 families (1,460 people) are occupying these DPWH bunkhouses. 64 Around 10,000 temporary units may be built in the city. Each Bunkhouse unit is 207.36m2 and has 24 rooms. One unit has one latrine with 8 toilet bowls, one kitchen counter that fits eight people, and one washing cubicle that fits four people. Each room is 2.4m x 3.6m = 8,64m2 and accommodates a family of 3-4 members and two units with a total floor area of 17,28m2 families with five or more members. 63 This is well below the requirements of the Sphere guidelines which states that a minimum space per person should be 3,5m2.


The Tacloban Astrodome was one of the initial mass shelters. Tacloban, May 2014 Photo: Milja Lindberg

Bunkhouses in Tacloban, Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin on the left, March 2014 Photo (original in color): Anton Diaz, Our Awesome Planet


Shelter Tents in Tacloban, May 2014. Photo: Milja Lindberg


Personal notes, May 19th, 2014 The area around the Daniel Romualdez airport is dotted with emergency shelters. The hot and humid air had forced people to seek shelter outside from the heat inside the tents. People were worried since the next typhoon season was approaching and no knowledge of a more permanent and wind resistent shelter was at sight. One mother told me that children are so afraid of the rain they start crying everytime it drizzels. More than 1000 families were still living in these tents in Tacloban six months after typhoon Yolanda. 69

Temporary Classroom in San Angelo Village, May 2014. Photo: Milja Lindberg


Personal notes, May 20th, 2014 During my stay in Tacloban, I visited San Angelo Village, about 20km southwest from the airport. The village had received two tent classrooms from UNICEF for the nearly 100 children who lived in this small community. However, these classrooms were empty – because it was +40 degrees celcius outside. Inside these tents, maybe 50 to 60 degrees! Lessons were held outside under a shade of a tree and a canope because the light wind gave a much needed relief from the heat. The children were attending lessons given by local volunteers while their parents and older siblings were building back their homes. 71

No Build Zone

64 TRRP Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan, 2014, p.7.

After the typhoon, the national government had issued a 40 meter No Build zone along the vulnerable coastline of Tacloban. These zones were mainly occupied by informal settlements when typhoon Yolanda struck and caused severe damage to self-built contructions. More than half of the buildings that were damaged in the typhoon belonged to the urban poor. According to the Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan, the people from these areas are to be relocated to higher ground to a new development area called Tacloban North.64 Additionally, levees are to be build along the coastline to act as buffers to prevent future disasters. The 40 meter distance of the No-Build easement has been criticized as inadequate and arbitraty since the typhoon and storm surge damages reached hundreds of meters inland (view map on p.60). The long process of relocations and lack of communication to community members has resulted in newly built informal settlements along the shore in the No Build Zone. Community members stated that they would rather stay in the same place with their familiar community than be relocated to Tacloban North where there would be isolated from their community and employment.

ne ild zo


coastal levees


40m “NO BUILD ZONE” along the coast issued by the national government. Resettlement had emerged despite the danger of another typhoon. The word “NO” was removed. Tacloban, May 2014. Photo: Milja Lindberg

New construction in the No-Build Zone. Tacloban, May 2014. Photo: Milja Lindberg


Tacloban North

65 Manila Standard Today, January 9, 2014.

The relocation site was selected based on its geographical qualities and low risk environment. Situated at a higher elevation and “far from the danger zones”, the 80-hectare area, 16 kilometers north of Tacloban’s downtown will be developed to accommodate the relocated people from the No-Build Zone. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson states that some 16,000 houses will be built in the area over a period of three years. 65 Six months after the typhoon, the site was under construction with the first cluster of 400 houses that are scheduled to be finished by December 2014. This means that in one year, only 2,5% of the housing target will be built. Tacloban North is criticized for being inaccessible, not providing basic public services or the ability to support livelihoods. This is especially critical for the urban poor because if relocated to Tacloban North they would become disconnected from means of livelihood and this would further the need for external assistance. The building process has been slowed down due to land ownership issues and the insecurity has led locals to rebuild self-made settlements in hazardous areas.


Tacloban North housing development

Building construction site at Tacloban North, May 2014 Photo: Milja Lindberg




Conclusions and Future Challenges The assistance programs in Tacloban are expected to end by December 2014 whereas the recovery of Tacloban is likely to take several more years. The government of the Philippines has stated that they will start their assistance programs after international aid groups have finished their respective contributions. This is said to ensure the continuance of assistance past the first year. However, local community in Tacloban seemed sceptical and the governments lack of presence was seen as not caring. The Philippines is soon entering a period of presidential campaigning for the 2016 federal elections and the media is speculating whether disaster aid will be used as a campaigning tool – though this might seem to be an action towards helping the community, it might merely be a show for the media lens. Restoring the livelihoods of the Yolanda survivors is critical to the recovery process. Livelihoods of the urban poor such as fishing and coconut plantations have been destroyed by the typhoon. Furthermore, repairing and reopening schools and ensuring the continuance of education programmes allows children to restore daily routines and frees parents to re-enter the workforce. Discussion and uncertainty of whether the city’s airport will be moving to a safer location has halted the economic recovery of local businesses. Businesses without insurance were more motivated to restart immediately, where as businesses with insurance are able to wait for the decision of the airport relocation. With the short cycle of these natural events, Tacloban’s timeline of recovery can be alarmingly short. The initial goal after a disaster is securing life safety and offer shelter. However, in Tacloban, temporary structures scattered around the city as well as the regrowth of vulnerable informal urban settlements along the coast pose a new threat as the surrounding environment is showing signs of stronger and more volatile storms. During my stay in Tacloban, the people there offered me the uttermost hospitality and kindness regardless of their recent hardship. They entail a culture that makes people more sensitive towards supporting others. I believe that the key to the recovery of Tacloban lies within these people. The term Resiliency was used extensively in the published recovery plans of the local city government. The city’s goal is to build back Tacloban so that it can be resilient to future natural disasters. However, this is currently done by following through with undesired changes in the city structure and partial portions of the original plans while largely neglecting the community involvement. As a result, the city is doing one thing and the community another. 78

Every day starts with a Community Dance at the San Angelo village. Tacloban, May 2014. Photo (original in color): Anton Diaz

Local fishermen and a woman receiving new boats as donations from the Peter foundation. Oldest recipient was a 78-year-old man and one woman received a boat to secure her family’s livelihood after the loss of her husband.. Tacloban, May 2014. Photo: Milja Lindberg



I was first introduced to the Philippines through a three month online course “Designing Resilient Schools� by the Open Online Academy OOAC from January to March 2014. The course included weekly assignments and a design work done in groups formed through this online community. Aside from researching the culture and the climatological characteristics of the Philippines, we followed weekly lectures online given by Dr. Ivan Shumkov, a professor at the Harvard School of Architecture and Illac Angelo Diaz from Architecture for Humanity, Manila chapter. This course focused on the dual function of schools in supporting community resiliency. Apart from being structurally adequate to withstand typhoons, the programme for the design was to include educational and community activity spaces before a disaster and the ability to turn into emergency shelter and community gathering space after a disaster. The course offered me a good insight into the Philippines prior to my visit to Tacloban in May 2014. As I was researching the situation in Tacloban in the spring of 2014, I accidentally came across a food blog that described which restaurants in Tacloban had been able to reopen 140 days after typhoon Yolanda. At the end of this post by Anton Diaz, the founder of the blog Our Awesome Planet, there was an open invitation for anyone to join him and his friend Spanky Hizon Endriquez on their next food and voluntourism tour in Tacloban in May. The dates of their trip matched mine and as I did not have any contacts in the area at that point, I emailed Anton and signed up.


We met up with Anton and Spanky a month later in Tacloban. The objective of their trip was to make children happy. They had received coloring books, pens and packbacks from Operation Santa to be given to the children in Tacloban. We visited sites around the city, met Anton’s and Spanky’s friend Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin and his family. We talked about what the city was like before the typhoon, the events followed by the disasters and the future of Tacloban. We talked to locals, gave school supplys to children and walked around the city. We also met up with a group of local volunteers at the Gawang Iwang team and the Bayani Challenge 2014 who took us to the Saint Angelo village. My time in Tacloban was critical for the understanding of the culture, the people and the destructive nature of typhoons. I have written in this thesis some of the stories I heard from these people during my stay in Tacloban. Although they might be very personal to the one telling them, the stories describe the feel of the disaster in more profound way than any numbers and statistics.



Ishinomaki Three years after a natural disaster



Personal notes, May 6th, 2014

I arrive to Ishinomaki late at night. The train ride from Tokyo was still on an alternative route between Sendai to Ishinomaki after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami damaged the coastal railways. In the dim street light the city around the train station looks normal. The next morning I take my camera and head towards the harbor. Little by little, signs of the tsunami that hit the city over three years ago start to reveal. Hand-painted lines and text on the sides of the buildings marking the height of the 2011 wave, empty lots and building foundations. About half a kilometer from the ocean, the full extent of the disaster is evident. I arrive at the edge of grass covered fields where single family houses used to be, lonely ruins remain. I walk past the industrial area, harbor and a gigantic paper mill and arrive at the edge of the ocean. Two rows of concrete breakwaters line the coast. I walk towards an arched bridge, ocean on my right and empty fields on my left. First buildings are behind this open field on a hill. I reach the end of the road and the bridge. A single house in the middle of the field is still standing together with a battered tree and what looks like a shrine. I make my way along the river back towards the city center. I bizarre UFO looking building catches my eye. As I approach this building that had landed on a little island near downtown, I start hearing loud Japanese music, I see families with children and an assortment of Japanese manga action figures. This UFO, a manga museum, is full of life and seems truly alien after the quiet walk through the tsunami destroyed areas. This is my first introduction to the city and the beautiful and mesmerizing Japanese culture.

85 A house is left standing on a site where many similar houses were destroyed in the 2011 tsunami . Ishinomaki , May 2014, Photo: Milja Lindberg


This case study of the City of Ishinomaki will present the phases followed by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011 and the state of the city three years after the disaster. Furthermore, this chapter collects a series of personal notes from my time in Ishinomaki in the spring of 2014 as well as discussions with professional working in the field of disaster preparedness in Japan and the role of resiliency and architecture. City Profile

66 City of Ishinomaki.

67 Hasegawa, 2013, p.6.


Ishinomaki is located 334 km northeast of Tokyo in the Tohoku region, Miyagi prefecture. In 2005 the city of Ishinomaki merged with six other towns: Kahoku, Kanan, Kitakami, Monou, Ogatsu and Oshika making Ishinomaki the second largest town in the prefecture of Miyagi after Sendai. Spread over an area of 555.78km2 with 58 838 households and 151 263 residents (as of March 31st, 2013) with the average household size of 2.6 persons, Ishinomaki is considered as a town of rural density. The main industries in the Tohoku region include fishing and agriculture. 66 On March 11th 2011, the city was struck by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and a devastating tsunami that has left the city to cope with years of reconstruction and a struggle to restore the city. Though highly destructive, the tsunami is not the only cause of the city’s struggle to get back on its feet. A shrinking economy and aging demographics had put the Ishinomaki in decline even before the disaster in 2011.67 In June 2014, the City of Ishinomaki reported to have 147 143 residents, showing the continuing decline in inhabitants, partly due to the postdisaster state and people moving to bigger cities for employment. Adding to the instability of the city and the whole Tohoku region is the on-going nuclear disaster of the badly damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant located less than 100 kilometers from Ishinomaki.


Risk and Vulnerability Analysis

68 Hasegawa, 2013, p.5.

Japan is prone to a number of earthquakes and tsunamis due to its geographical position on the Western Pacific Ocean and the geological condition of the area. Encountering frequent earthquakes annually, as a globally leading economic nation Japan has been able to adapt a series of high standard disaster prevention technologies and to develop an advanced system of prevention mechanisms. 68

69 Suppasri and Mas, 2013, p.4.

The coastal Tohoku region is highly vulnerable to both earthquakes and tsunamis. The area is struck by earthquakes of 7.4 - 8.0 magnitude on an average cycle of 37 years. Earthquakes with a magnitude of 8.0 and higher and subsequent tsunamis have been recorded hitting the area in following dates: 869, 1611, 1896, 1933, and finally in 2011.69 The City of Ishinomaki is situated on a low-lying area on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It is surrounded by low sloping hills and a mountainous peninsula in the east and by rice fields in the north and west. Originally a fishing community, the proximity to the ocean has been a lifeline for the growth of Ishinomaki. With the aging demographic of the population of Ishinomaki, the elderly people were identified as a vulnerable group in case of a disaster event.

70 Sagara and Saito, 2012, p.7.

71 Sagara and Saito, 2012, p.14.

A risk assessment and mapping of hazardous areas report prior to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami predicted the costal communities of Tohoku are to experience a 7.4 to 8.0 magnitude earthquake with a 99% probability to occur within a thirty year window. The recognized risk had led the municipalities in the region that had experienced many tsunamis before to follow several preparedness measures. 70 Hazard maps were created in order to promote risk awareness and coordinate disaster response as well as for deciding the locations of evacuation centers and shelters. However, the Risk Assessment and Hazard Mapping evaluation conducted after the disaster states that only 20% of inhabitants in the affected area were aware of such risk reports showing that the assessment was not communicated properly to the communities at risk. 71

Map of Japan and Frequent Earthquake Locations â–ş



Kaisei Temporary Housing Complex



Paper Mill


Mangatta Museum

Fishing Port


Ishinomaki, May 2014, Photo: Milja Lindberg


Personal notes, May 11th, 2014 Areas that were not affected by the disaster show a typical suburb in Ishinomaki. Single family houses are relatively big compared to Japanese standard of building. Those who are now displaced in temporary units have had to get use to a life in a cramped space. 93

March 11th, 2011

72 Hasegawa, 2013, p.15.

73 Suppasri and Mas, 2013, p.7.

74 Hasegawa, 2013, p.5.

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck the Pacific coast of northeast Japan on March 11th 2011 approximately 120km southeast of Ishinomaki, causing a devastating triple disaster with strong tremors and a subsequent tsunami and a nuclear disaster. The submarine earthquake lasted six minutes and was felt around the Tohoku area, and even in Tokyo, 373km from the epicenter. The intensity and power released by the movement of underwater plates triggered a high velocity tsunami and shifted the ground level of the City of Ishinomaki southeast and downward by 1.2 meters. 72 Approaching the coast of Ishinomaki, the tsunami gathered a height of 7.6 meters and the inundation reached hundreds of meters inland flooding a total of 13% of the area of the City of Ishinomaki. In Ishinomaki, 3 647 people were reported killed, 53 742 buildings, of which 70% was housing, were damaged. 73 The consequences of the tremors and subsequent tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster are still evident three years after the disaster. Several false assessments and misfortunate events resulted in the high number of casualties and vast destruction caused by the tsunami. The global audience has anxiously followed the events of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Although the plant was protected by an eight meter high seawall, the tsunami inundation reached over this critical height causing one of the most devastating nuclear disasters known to history. The devastation of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami has brought up a series of doubts about the adequacy of preparedness methods of Japan – an international forerunner in disaster preparedness. The successful evacuations from the tsunami are characterized as actions resulted from a active early warning system, preparation and knowledge. However, international attention has focused on primarily on the failures of Japan in providing safety to the people in the affected area and the series of events that caused the extent of this disaster.74

I visited the City of Onagawa, half an hour train ride east from Ishinomaki. The city was completely destroyed in the 2011 disaster and was now beginning to rebuild the city entirely from scratch. Before starting the actual rebuilding, the city has decided to elevate the entire landscape by 10 meters. A building pushed over onto its side from the impact of the tsunami â–ş Onagawa, Miyagi, May 2014. Photo: Milja Lindberg





The Course of Events after March 11th 2011

75 Hasegawa, 2013, pp. 5-6 and 17.

76 Hasegawa, 2013, p.16.

In the early response to this disaster many cultural characteristic specific to Japanese society impeded some aspects of the relief efforts. For instance, relief agencies and organizations were asked to distripute relief good for “each survivor with items that were exactly the same in brand, type and size�. The fear was that inequal treatment of survivors would lead to conflicts and resentment; this method of distribution of relief good directly distrupted and decreased the efficiency of relief efforts. Additionally, the City of Ishinomaki was not prepared to receive and organize such vast numbers of external aid workers. 76

77 Hasegawa, 2013, p.17.

Furthermore, Japanese culture embodies hesitancy of accepting offers of charity either to preserve their personal dignity or out of concern not to inconvenience others. This cultural trait further complicated the distribution of relief goods and donations. Moreover, the people who lost their homes and belongings due to the cumulative impacts of the earthquake and the tsunami received an equal amount of relief goods and financial aid as those who had experienced partial losses. This discrepancy led to some resentfulness and feeling of inequality amongst community members. 77

Discussion with Liz Maly, May 10th, 2014


Investigating the events that followed the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011 reveils a number of phenomena that created the distinct character of the impact of the disaster. Although, a tsunami warning was issued, a number of people did not evacuate immediately with fatal concequences. The misreading of the tsunami warning was due to a level of complacency created by false sense of security. This false sense of security was created by three main factors: firstly, the excisting breakwaters led people to think that they were safe from a tsunami; secondly, people who lived on the outskirts of the indentified hazard zones had not included in the preparedness drills and this led many of them to disregard the evacuation order and remain in their homes on the second floor; and finally, the auricular tradition had taught that the tsunami would arrive in 15minutes and would be about 6 meters in height and when the tsunami arrive 30-40 minutes later, some people had already thought that the tsunami danger was over. 75

After the initial displacement in evacuation centers, the survivors were distributed to one of three types of temporary shelters: prefabricated houses, private apartments and public-sector apartments, with all rents covered by the goverment. In Japan, the hierarchy of managing temporary houses is divided between the national government providing funding, the prefecture

governments being in charge of contracting construction and labour, and municipal goverment of finding suitable land area and managing survivors. There was a pre-existing agreement with the national pre-fab association on building temporary houses in case of a natural disaster which accelerated the process of providing temporary housing. However, the assocation was not able to meet the quota reguired for people after March 11t disaster, which led to prefectures to seek alternative options. In the rural areas of Japan, smaller towns are amalgamated together creating bigger and more concentrated municipalities, as in the case of Ishinomaki in 2005. Liz Maly, an assistant professor at the Tohoku University, suggests that the process of amalgamating small municipalities can lead to disconnected communities making responding to and agreeing on disaster response more difficult. Managing displaced people, debris and prioritazing the rebuilding of physical infrastructures has consumed the majority of the first three years following the disaster.

Evacuation Center and tsunami run-up height close to Ishinomaki harbour Ishinomaki, May 2014. Photo: Milja Lindberg


Personal notes, May 6th, 2014 The low-lying area behind the breakwaters was completely destroyed in the 2011 tsunami. Three years after the tsunami, this areas remains empty. The lonestanding deserted house and a tree in the middle of this grass growing field are the only reminders of the community that used to inhabit this land.


The next day, I meet Akinobu Yoshikawa and we talk about the future of this area. Whether it should be rebuild with a sea wall or whether leaving this land as it is today, empty and bare, would leave a more powerful message and a memory of March 11th for future generations.

“Keeping the voices of the tsunami survivors alive is one of the most important things we can do to save lives when and if another disaster should strike,” Mina Nishisaka Kahoku newspaper (3/2012) – My March 11


Conversations I visited the City of Ishinomaki a little over three years after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. During my time in Japan, I had the opportunity to meet with three architects working in three different scales of the field of disaster resiliency and architecture. Discussions on Ishinomaki Akinobu Yoshikawa is an architect and a senior design fellow at Architecture for Humanity and has been working for two years in the Ishinomaki field office MakiBiz which was founded in 2012. They have completed 12 strategically implemented community projects (urban acupunture) including a sports park and the Oshika House, a space for the women’s group of Oshika. The role of MakiBiz is to act as a facilitator provinding assistance for local community members to navigate through bureaucracy and helping people access opportunities, specifically supporting small businesses and start-ups as well as helping people to get loans and funding. Mr.Yoshikawa describes the rebuilding process to have been slow due to many factors, biggest one being bureaucracy. Process of bureaucratic decision making is slow as all decisions go through several layers of approval before are accepted. This has led people to become frustrated with the Japanese government and how the reconstruction is being handled. Regardless of this frustration, Mr.Yoshikawa sees that there is a rooted desire within the community to move on and start fresh. However, the government insists on securing areas before allowing development. The priority is to build seawalls and elevate ground levels first, then to build housing and develop the community. Mr.Yoshikawa estimates that after land fill has been completed, it will take at least 6 months for the dirt to settle before building can start. The government is adhering to plans made at the initial rehabilitation assessment phase whereas the actual needs have declined or changed significantly over the past three years since the assessment was made. Furhermore, the challenges of rebuilding are the lack of land to rebuild on and the issues with community members affording loans. For instance, the eldery people in Ishinomaki do not have the money or will to rebuild and move, and they have stated that they would rather stay in their temporary homes for permanently. One major question of rebuilding is the legacy it leaves behind and how to communicate that to future generations. The physical memory of the tsunami in Ishinomaki is still very visible and Mr.Yoshikawa argues that it should stay that way. If everything is cleaned up it takes away from the reality of the situation and the memory of what used to be. Over the past centuries, tsunamis have happened relatively frequently. After 102

a tsunami, a community usually moves away from the risk areas but over time, new generations slowly move closer and closer to the ocean as the memory of the disaster fades away. The question remains, how to restore the memory of what was there before and what happened? Discussions on Tohoku Region I met with Liz Maly in Sendai after my stay in Ishinomaki. Liz Maly is a Ph.D. in Architecture and an Assistant Professor at the Tohoku University International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS). Maly explained the roles of the Japanese government, prefectures and local municipalities in recovering from a disaster event in Japan. We also discussed about the challenges of temporary housing further outlined in the following chapter. Maly states that the architects who have the best results in disaster areas are the ones who have been involved with the local community before. The pre-excisting connections allow more immediate and community based decisions that further aid the recovery of the community.  For example, in Kobe, where community groups were already formed prior to the 1995 earthquake, people in those community groups worked better in recovery. Discussions on Japan William Galloway is a co-founder of the Architecture for Humanity Tokyo Chapter. We met at their office on May 12th, 2014. The discussion revolved around the greater scale of disaster response, resiliency and the role of architects. Galloway calls for the the need for bigger infrastructural long-term changes instead of fine-tuning and quick-fixes. He indentifies this as the difference between survival and solution and suggest that poorly organized response efforts are a waste of time and resourses. Galloway states that governments repetitiously fail to organize assistance groups and have a false idea of the needs of affected communities. After the Tohoku earthquake, government officials from other parts of Japan were brought in to the area to make decisions for the Tohoku communities. Galloway continues by illustrating another major issue, that is the declining population of the affected areas; when planning to rebuild, the governments in many cases build to meet the original need and not the actual needs failing to adapt to the change. Galloway concludes by stating that the worst disaster is not what nature does to cities but what people do after the disaster. 103


Temporary Housing After the 2011 disaster, municipalities in the affected areas were setting up temporary housing communities to accommodate those whose homes had been destroyed in the cumulative impact of tremors and tsunami. The process of finding locations was conducted based on two main criteria – there was a limited amount of suitable public land, so agreements with land-owners had to be established in order to meet the land need quota. Land that will be used for more permanent building was to remain vacant for land development. The Japanese Disaster Victim Response Law states that a temporary unit should have a floor area of approximately 30m2 and be occupied a maximum of 2 years and 3 months. However, three years after the disaster, there are still 134 temporary communities and 7 122 temporary housing units in the City of Ishinomaki. The largest area is the Kaisei Temporary Housing Complex, located north of the city center. 78 As of January 2013, the government had already issued two one year extensions to the two year limit and several more are expected. Maly states that for instance in Kobe after the 1995 earthquake, the average time of displacement was 5 to 10 years.79 When discussing the possible future reuse of the temporary units, Maly continues by stating that “generally not feasible for to be reused after people have been living in them (the units) for 5-10 years. “

Discussion with Liz Maly, May 10th, 2014.

78 City of Ishinomaki, 2014.

79 Maly, 2014.


The layout of units is based on a equality driven system of Japanese society. Each unit was to have an equal floor area, an equal distance from a neighboring unit and an equal exposure to sunlight which dictates the parallel orientation of units. Discussion with Akinobu Yoshikawa, May 7th, 2014.

In my discussion with Akinobu Yoshikawa in Ishinomaki, he stated that: “The standard units were not initially suitable for the local climate of Ishinomaki. Double windows were added later on as the units had problems with heating and cooling as well as water condensations. In Kobe 1995, the temperature in temporary housing units rose to over 50°C leading to several dehydration deaths.  The temporary houses failed to offer enough storage space, so, additional storage units were build to facilitate peoples’ needs. In Ishinomaki, the houses were relatively big compared to other parts of Japan and people had more posessions than expected.”

Maly, 2014.

Professor Yasuo Yamazaki of Ishinomaki Senshu University, who studies the lives of the evacuees at the Kaisei complex, says younger people are leaving temporary housing because it is inconvenient to commute to work or school. With the unlikeliness of the reuse of these units, the government of Japan will have an additional cost and large amount of waste generated by the demolishion of these temporary units.


Uniform solution

Floor Area

Distance from Neighboring Unit

Main Facade Orientation

Temporary Housing Units in Kaisei, Ishinomaki, May 2014. Photo: Milja Lindberg


hospitals / schools residential zone. higher buildings create evacuation centers. elevated road commercial / industrial zone. no dwelling 7.2m inner seawall 3.5m outer wall

Reconstruction Plans and Seawall

80 City of Ishinomaki, 2014.

81 Tanaka, Shiozaki and Hokugo, 2012, p.9.


The reconstruction plans of the City of Ishinomaki consist of two main themes: building a 7.2 meter seawall and incorporating a new city zoning scheme. 80 The Japanese government has decided to extent the existing infrastructure of coastal seawalls in order to prevent future tsunami disasters. The height of the wall in each case is determined based on coastal conditions of cities and an assessment on the average height of frequently occurring tsunamis (37 year cycle). 81 “The Great Wall of Japan�, as derisively named by the media, has become a highly debated and criticized issue in Japan. The main criticism is directed to the somewhat arbitrary height of the seawalls and the fact that in cities such as Ishinomaki, the wall will be 7.2 meters whereas the 2011 tsunami reached a height of 7.6 meters. The government admits that the walls are not likely to prevent a similar disaster event to that of 2011 and in those cases, water might overtop the wall and flood the city. However, the new city land-use scheme is claimed to provide additional protection and secure safe evacuations as well as entail improved and crucial early warning systems and evacuation routes. The concrete wall has been especially opposed in smaller


fishing villages, where the livelihoods of the community members rely on having a direct connection to the ocean. The new urban planning scheme in Ishinomaki is to use the low-lying costal area for industry, commerce and parks, creating a buffer zone between the ocean and seawall, and the residential areas. Elevated roads and forests as well as landfills are used to incorporate additional protection for residential areas. Tall buildings are used to act as neighborhood evacuation centers. Lifeline buildings, such as schools, hospitals and larger evacuations centers are to be located on higher ground. The reconstruction is coordinated from Tokyo and managed through three regional offices in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. The agency has set the rebuilding timeline to be 10 years, from 2011 to 2020. 82

82 Tanaka, Shiozaki and Hokugo, 2012, p.13.

The following diagram shows the timeline of events after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011 and reconstruction timeline of the City of Ishinomaki (pp.112-113). The map (pp. 114115) indicates the locations of the planned seawall and new housing areas that are to be built after the completion of the seawall. 109





Ishinomaki, May 2014, Photo: Milja Lindberg


Personal notes, May 6th, 2014 I walk along the Ocean front listening to the humming sound of waves hitting the concrete breakwaters. I try to image the roaring sound of the over 7 meter tall wave that hit this very same spot only three years ago. I try to picture what this landscape would look like with a 7 meter tall concrete wall, disconnecting the community from its connection to the Ocean. 115

Conclusions anf Future Challenges The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011 showed how a chain of disasters followed by an earthquake can effect susceptible modern societies and countries that are forerunners in disaster preparedness. Although there is no question whether Japan will ultimately be able to rebuild back the affected towns, the longterm social tensions and effects this disaster has created between communities and the government as well as internal relationships of the affected communities will be difficult to restore. Furthermore, healing and recovery can take far longer than the timeline of reconstruction leds on. Additionally, the on-going migration to bigger cities and the declining demographics of the Tohoku coastal municipalities requires a more forward thinking way of approaching the reconstruction of the cities. Keeping the national and international public interested in the progress of reconstruction and recovery past the initial six months to a year has been difficult for a small community such as Ishinomaki. In Japan, the public has turned their interest towards the approaching 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and the glooming earthquake of a fault line directly under the city that is expexted to occur in the near future. After three years, Ishinomaki is now in a state of standstill. The future and appearance of the city will be determined within the next few years. Meanwhile with the declining population, aging demographic, and the growing frustration of community members, the future might bring additional challenges for the community.

Newly paived streets in Ishinomaki city center. â–ş Ishinomaki, May 2014. Photo: Milja Lindberg




119 The Mangattan Museum was flooded up to the second floor in the 2011 tsunami. Ishinomaki , May 2014. Photo: Milja Lindberg


Vancouver Expecting a natural disaster



Personal notes, Spring, 2014

I travelled to Vancouver, Canada to volunteer for Architecture for Humanity as a part of working on my thesis. I wanted to get familiar with an organization that works towards disaster resilience and community engagement. I signed up and was directed to help with an on-going project with the local AfH chapter volunteers. First meeting took place soon after I arrived. The topic of this project was ‘THE NEXT BIG ONE’ – a multi-hazard scenario of a future earthquake and tsunami disaster hitting a city in the future. A city like Vancouver, I learned. I found out that Vancouver is situated near a subduction zone plate that experiences a great magnitude earthquake every 300 to 500 years. Since the last known earthquake of this caliber took place in 1700, Vancouver is now due for another one. That is, anytime between now and about 200 years. How does a city that has not experienced a disaster during its modern history prepare itself for an inevitable natural disaster anytime in the next 200 years? I decided to study this city. I talked with locals, people working in architecture and for the city of Vancouver. Every time I mentioned Vancouver as a part of my ‘thesis on natural disasters’ I got the same response: “Oh yeah, the earthquake.” How to live in a city knowing that any day that city could encounter a disaster? People I talked to said, they can not think about that all the time, it would be too consuming. It is just as likely that the earthquake will not hit for another 100 or 200 years. Yet, when building today, you have to think ahead a hundred years.

123 Downtown Vancouver viewed from Stanley Park June 2014, Photo: Milja Lindberg


This case study of the City of Vancouver will introduce how a progressive global city is preparing for what could be the biggest disaster of its modern history. Furthermore, this chapter presents how hazard mapping reveils a devastating future scenario for the city and collects preparedness strategies imposed by the City of Vancouver. In a more fine grained investigation,Vancouver represents a city that has a public image of resiliency but discussions within the structure of city officials and planners seem to propose a more alarming reality. Will the city be prepared to encounter a great magnitude disaster or is it merely maintaining a public image? City Profile

83 Green Vancouver, 2014.

City of Vancouver is the largest city of Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia. The city has a culturally diverse population – out of the 603 502 inhabitants (2011), 52% have a first language other that English. The city area of 114km2 consists of a dense downtown with high-rise buildings, a large urban park, an international airport and a range of widespread suburbs with single family homes and low-rise apartment buildings. The University of British Columbia is situated west of the city on a selfgoverned area. 83

84 Metro Vancouver, 2014.

Metro Vancouver consist of the City of Vancouver and 20 other municipalities including the cities of Richmond, Surrey, Burnaby, Metro City as well as North and West Vancouver municipalities. Metro Vancouver has 2.3 million inhabitants. 84

85 Green Vancouver, 2014.

Vancouver is globally recognized as one of the best places to live. To promote the city’s image further, Vancouver is also pursuing to become the greenest city in the world by 2020. 85 The city is boarded by the Pacific Ocean in the west and mountains in the north and low-lying plains in the south and east. The city is expected to encounter a great magnitude earthquake anytime within the next 200 years.



Risk and vulnerability assessment

86 Natural Resources Canada, 2014.

The risk of a high magnitude earthquake in Vancouver is differently perceived than generally in other earthquake prone regions. Vancouver is located near the Cascadia Subdution Zone which proposes a threat of a great magnitude earthquake with a reoccurring 300-500 year frequency. Last of there events was Canada’s largest recorder earthquake in 1700 determined to have been 9.0 in magnitude. A subduction zone earthquake is where one continental shelf suddenly slips under another releasing great amount of energy and a shift in the seabed. 86 As it has now been 314 years since the last subduction plate earthquake, Vancouver in now in a period of expectancy of the event locally known as “the big one”. Founded in 1886, the City of Vancouver has not experienced a large magnitude earthquake in its history as a built city. This adds a dangerous level of complacency in the attitudes towards this future event. The fact that the earthquake could strike anytime between now and 200 years makes preparing for this future event difficult.

87 City of Vancouver, 2014, p. 42.

According to risk and hazard analysis conducted by the City of Vancouver, large areas of the city are at risk of liquefaction caused by the tremors as well as a possible tsunami. Though the city has followed a seismic building code since 1973, 60 percent of the city’s building stock was built prior to the code. 87 Since there has not been a damaging high magnitude earthquake, these vulnerable buildings remain a part of the urban structure. Majority of the vulnerable buildings are private houses and city-owned public buildings such as schools.

88 Vancouver Sun, 2013.

Gordon Hoekstra, reported in the Vancouver Sun (Oct. 29th, 2013) quoting a July 2013 report completed by the Insurance Bureau of Canada that “a major quake off B.C. coast followed by a likely tsunami would cause $75 billion dollars in damage” (Note: Case scenario includes tsunami, and occurs on a hypothetical day in July). 88

89 City of Vancouver, 2014, p. 58.

Despite the obvious risk a 9.0 magnitude earthquake poses, the public image of Vancouver highlights the following phrase 89:

“The City is ready to respond at any time”

Cascadia Subdution Zone and top 5 earthquakes in the region ► 126


University of British Columbia


West Vancouver

North Vancouver Lions’ Gate Bridge Port Stanley Park

Port Downtown

Gastown Downtown East Side

False Creek

Vancouver Airport

129 Richmond

Tsunami run-up potential in the City of Vancouver shows how a two meters above high tide tsunami would effect the vulnerable city airport and several other areas along the coast.



Liquefaction risk in the City of Vancouver highlights areas that are vulneable to soil liquefaction caused by earthquake tremors.



Vancouver, March, 2014, Photo: Milja Lindberg


Personal notes, June 3rd, 2014 I went out to Spanish Banks where the low tide reveals hundreds of meters of seabed. Looking at the cargo ships parked in the bay, I think about the ships in Tacloban. Could one of these crash into the city by the force of a tsunami? When discussing disaster preparedness, what do you have to be prepared for? 135

Preparedness Strategies of the City of Vancouver In 2013, the City of Vancouver released an Earthquake Preparedness Strategy that had gathered risk and vulnerability analysis of buildings and infrastructure as well as guidelines for future development and risk mitigation.

90 City of Vancouver, 2014, pp. 39- 43.

The City of Vancouver has taken several measures to improve the city’s ability to respond to a high magnitude earthquake. In 1973, the city first released a seismic building code that presented regulations meant for new construction that added structural endurance that would ensure buildings not to collapse in case of an earthquake event. However, the building code only sets a minimum standard that secures life safety. It is not certain that buildings constructed after the implementation of seismic code will remain livable and repairable after a disaster event. Additionally, the city’s infrastructure such as bridges have undergone repairs and upgrades to ensure they will remain operational after an earthquake. Furthermore, the city has marked emergency response routes and conducted an Emergency Response Plan. 90

91 City of Vancouver, 2014, pp. 48.

The main objectives of the City of Vancouver’s five year plan include improving the ability to response to a disaster event, developing emergency training and refining earthquake risk mitigation in key areas. Additionally, the city suggests a Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness Program to train public to facilitate communitybased response. 91 The report also reveals that a high number of public lifeline buildings are in the need of retrofits and that the failure of 60 percent of buildings as well as vital infrastructure could have severe or fatal consequences. The level of risk the city encapsulates is enormous. Despite the actions the city has taken and is planning to take, it is obvious that the process of profoundly securing a city the size of Vancouver is nearly impossible given that the time frame for development might be disconsolately short. This raises the question of how to prioritize preparedness and mitigation actions?


92 The British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2014.

The following maps (pp.138-139 and 140-141) present the current network of lifeline buildings that have been identified to pose a key role in disaster response and initial relief. Overlaying this map with the liquefaction and tsunami hazard map reveals the risk some of these buildings would be in, would the earthquake strike today. Failure of these marked buildings to operate after a disaster would disrupt the network of response leaving some neighborhood more vulnerable than expected. Moreover, the Ministry of Education has stated in September 2014 that 49 Vancouver schools have been classified as high-risk to a seismic event of which only 28 are being supported for a seismic upgrade. 92






A typical residential area in Downtown East Side. Built prior to the seismic code and partly with tremor vulnerable materials such as masonry, the high number of these buildings such as these indicate a risk of high number of displaced people in a case of an high magnitude earthquake. Residential Buildings in Downtown East Side, Vancouver â–ş June, 2014. Photo: Milja Lindberg


Gastown has been identified as the historic and cultural heart of Vancouver. Established in 1867, majority of the buildings in the area predate the seismic code. â—„ Gastown, Vancouver June, 2014. Photo: Milja Lindberg


Vancouver, February, 2014, Photo: Milja Lindberg


Admiral Seymour Elementary (built in 1907) is one of the 21 high-risk schools in Vancouver that have not yet been qualified for a retrofit. The school has been identified as a level 1 risk, the most vulnerable structure; at highest risk of widespread damage or structural failure; not repairable after a “design level� event. In Spring 2014, 125 pupils attended this elementary school. 145

Conclusions anf Future Challenges The possible future scenario of a high magnitude earthquake poses a complex series of threats to the City of Vancouver. The estimated economic losses due to a disaster event in Vancouver would not only decrease the economic stability of the city but negatively effect the whole economy of Canada. Loss of livelihoods and jobs could result in outmigration of residents and shift the province to a long-term decline. The looming earthquake event and the realization of the worst case scenario foreshadow the city’s future. During the six months I spent in Vancouver, I observed that the attitudes towards “the big one” were surprisingly calm and submissive. I soon found out why. As I initially browsed through the City of Vancouver’s public announcement on earthquake hazards, the overall appearance was as stated previously: “ The City is ready to respond at any time”. Everything is okay. However, a more detailed investigation reveiled a different reality. I asked whether given these realities of the situation in the city today, could the City of Vancouver survive and recover from a natural disaster. Although the public image said “yes”, in discussion with professionals working in architecture and urban planning in the city, it seemed to more obvious that the unwritten opinion was “no”. I was left wondering which is better for the well being of the city inhabitants, keeping up appearance of safety or announcing the devastating worst case scenario to the public? In discussions with locals, the possible future disaster was not a part of their day to day concerns, as the event was considered to be just as likely not to happen during their lifetimes. Dwelling on the possibility was seen as consuming and useless. I asked, what would they do if a disaster was to strike tomorrow and devastate the city. Some simply announced they would move to another city. In my opinion, Vancouver embodies a more general global attitude towards preparedness and mitigation actions and why it still remains marginal compared to efforts going towards disaster response. It is difficult to respond to a scenario that is based on estimations, propability and statistics. It is the human aspect of post-disaster landscape, the will to help people in need and alleviate suffering that drives people to act. The question remains, how to humanize the probabilities and statistics of future disaster events in order to activate the local communities for actions towards resiliency?

Downtown Vancouver, June, 2014. Photo: Milja Lindberg ►



The Next Big One

Volunteering for Architecture for Humanity Architecture for Humanity AFH is a San Francisco based organization that links a network of international professional and local chapters around the world. Architecture for Humanity aims to address community needs in order to build resiliency for conflicts, natural disasters and other crisis by alleviating poverty, building community resiliency, and addressing issues related to global climate change. As a part of my primary research in Vancouver, I was volunteering for the Architecture for Humanity Vancouver Chapter. AFH Vancouver works mainly on public outreach projects.

Next Big One http://www.nextbigone.org

Architecture for Humanity Vancouver Chapter’s 2013-2014 project evolved around the theme of resiliency and “the big one”. Titled Next Big One, the outcome of this research project was the release of an international open ideas competition in June 2014. The objective of the competions was to call upon the design community “to offer fresh perspectives and innovative ideas in rethinking how to design for disasters” and to “raise awareness on the high-magnitude earthquake and tsunami event – The “Next Big One” – that plagues cities around the world”. While outlining the competition, we discussed the role of architects and resiliency in the process of disaster mitigation – aside from structural and political tools to disaster prevention, what can architecture offer to communities that supports resiliency? And how to get the global audience interested in a project that is not a crisis of today but mitigates a threat of tomorrow? My role was working in a team of four, brainstorming ideas for the competition outline and updating the project webpage with up-to-date articles of global earthquakes and tsunamis as well as news about actions of resiliency. Ultimately, this competition gathered numerous proposals from every continent of the world showing that disaster preparedness and resiliency is a global matter. Winners were announced on October 31st, 2014. Further information about the project Next Big One: http://www.nextbigone.org/


Next Big One - project, Internal meeting January 24th, Vancouver. Photo: www.nextbigone.org Individuals Present: (Clockwise from bottom right) Sean Pearson, RUFproject; Denise Liu, Edison & Sprinkles; Linus Lam, Architecture for Humanity; Matthew Lahey, Architecture for Humanity; Mira Yung, Architecture for Humanity; Neal Lamontagne, City of North Vancouver; Leslie van Duzer, UBC’s School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture; Tamsin Mills, City of Vancouver; Stephanie Chang, UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning; Susan Herrington, UBC’s School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture; Arthur Leung, Architecture for Humanity; Jaime Yee, Architecture for Humanity; Kali Gordon, Architecture for Humanity (Present, not pictured) Andy Yan, Bing Thom Architects; Krista Janke, Architecture for Humanity; and Milja Lindberg, Architecture for Humanity


03 Part 3

Building Resiliency Culture Urban Acupuncture Strategic Shift Locally Embedded Resiliency Nucleus – The New Typology

Culture binds communities together through a collective memory and a sense of belonging. Architecture binds memory to a place. Natural disasters disrupt the connection between memory and place.

Building Resiliency

Throughout the process of working on this thesis I have tried to understand the essence of the term resiliency and especially what it represent when discussing resiliency against natural disasters. I am beginning to unveil what I believe is absolutely critical to the discussion of the involvement of architecture in disaster risk reduction – that is, the theme of resiliency. Resiliency is the ability to endure and recover from a natural disaster, suffering limited negative consequences. A resilient community is able to change and adapt over time and offer its member a safe living environment. The thesis research has led me to think more about how architecture can help communities be more resilient when facing an inevitable natural disaster. I have found that resiliency and architecture can be approached through two means: the first being the tangible or visible part of preparation, that is the built environment. The second is through the intangible, the social capital of the community. Social capital represents the quality and strength of the sociocultural connections within the community. The role of architects is traditionally seen as being part of the first one, the tangible. Part 3 of this thesis suggests architects should take a role in the latter and formalize the intangible through the means of architecture. Ultimately, I believe resiliency comes from sense of belonging, memory and place, familiarity and the feeling of home, ownership of shared environment, experiences, and courage. The sense of belonging is tied to a space and our surroundings. Community engagement builds a sense of belonging in our shared environments and helps bind our memories and legacy to our surroundings. Natural disasters disrupt this connection between memory and place. Resiliency also embeds the assumption that there are qualities in the community worth protecting. By securing the well-being of the community and by ensuring that the lives of people are meaningful and rich, one can increase the resiliency of a community and the will to protect and restore the community in case of a natural disaster. I believe social capital is tied to culture and that the social empowerment and strength is one of the greatest forces of rebuilding efforts. Through my research in post-disaster phases I have observed that the local community has been identified as 154

having a key role as the first responder in case of a natural disaster. I identify that the local community is also the last responder, meaning that the longterm recovery after a natural disasters is ultimately the responsibility and task of the affected community. Locally embedded resiliency is an idea I have defined over the course of this thesis; it attempts to approach disaster mitigation from a new perspective, through understanding how architecture can effect and enrich the social capital of a community. Locally embedded resiliency highlights the importance of planning and preparing for disasters locally, respecting and embracing the sociocultural structure and supporting the community in building resiliency as well as help the community cope with the long process of post-disaster recovery. The idea of locally embedded resiliency is to embed a network of public buildings within an existing urban structure or a city that ultimately empowers the local community and offers amenities needed before and after a natural disaster. Architecture can offer the community a physical frame for empowerment and recovery. This network is created utilizing and retrofitting the existing public buildings in the urban structure and by adding new complementary buildings to strengthen the network. Physical changes to existing buildings include adjusting layouts to be more flexible for post-disaster needs as well as incorporating programmatic qualities that allow more community based activities. In addition to enhancing the physical resiliency of a community, locally embedded resiliency attempts to support the social structure of a community. I believe that the survival of a familiar network or a frame of a city would help communities in a postdisaster topia. The emotional burden of losing homes and everything familiar impede the social and psychological aspects of recovery and disrupt the sense of belonging and add to the feeling of being lost. The network of these public buildings would be more durable in case of a natural disaster and located so that they would suffer minimum damages. This would offer the community a clear starting point and a familiar frame to start their rebuilding efforts. To place these structures within a community, one must identify the role of culture and the intangible social structures within the physical urban frame in order to grasp the essence of the community. 155


I find that the role of culture in architecture is both tangible and intangible. The correlation of culture and architecture can be seen in the formalization of mass, the layout of the program, the sequence of spaces, and the use of light and materials. Culture dictates the necessity of building typologies and their locations within an urban structure. Moreover, culture binds communities through a sense of belonging and architecture binds culture to a space. Architecture formalizes a frame for a social space, a cultural and spiritual space, and a space for conversation, connections and interaction, all of which can be seen as elements that support social capital. Hanmin Liu opens the embedded role culture in a community by stating that:

93 Scribner and Herzer, 2011, pp.55-56.

“Culture is oftentimes invisible. We can say it is the way schools and health care operate but actually there is something deeper. It actually forms relationships in community. It forms an innate social order that weaves the fabric of community. Culture is one of the really strong drivers that moves people forward, that forms a collective will. We find the most critical [thing we can do] is to develop a map of community, not a geographical map but a map of the community’s centers of gravity. Where are the activities that no one else knows about but actually bring people together? We almost always find these activities are the spiritual and cultural ones. There is something powerful that happens in those spaces that helps [people] with their daily lives. It is that kind of activity that I think is getting lost as we are moving at such an amazingly rapid pace that only the state or large institutions can deal with this pace of change. But these large systems do not have the understanding of what is happening on the ground and they do not see the power of culture that has been formed for so long and has been cultivated over time.� 93 These centers of gravity suggests that apart from a physical structure, a community has a social one as well. It is this social structure that post-disaster architecture profoundly neglects. I believe that a strong social structure is paramount to enhancing resiliency and supporting recovery and that architects can strengthen the social structure of a community.


Paul Ricoeur talks about the role of a philosopher when searching the meaning of culture: “We are too prone to look for the meaning of culture on an excessively rational or reflective level, for example, by starting with a written literature or an elaborated form of thought, as in the European tradition of philosophy. The values peculiar to a nation and which constitute it as a nation must be looked for on a much lower level. When a philosopher works out an ethic, he gives himself to a work of a very reflective character; strictly speaking, he does not make up an ethic, but he mirrors the one which has a spontaneous existence in the people.” 94

94 Ricoeur, 1965, pp.278-279.

The role of an architects could also be seen as a reflector and interpreter of the essence of culture within a community. However, in order to be able to grasp this “spontaneus existence”, the architect needs to have a deep understanding of the local culture and this can only be achieved by being present in the community. In his writing, Ricouer brings up the role of traditional cultures and theme of the creative nucleus: “The phenomenon of universalization, while being an advancement of mankind, at the same time constitutes a sort of destruction, not only of traditional cultures, which might not be an irreparable wrong, but also of what I shall call for the time being the creative nucleus of great cultures, that nucleus on the basis of which we interpret life, what I shall call in advance the ethical and mythical nucleus of mankind. – – We have the feeling that this single world civilization at the same time exerts a sort of attrition or wearing away at the expense of the cultural resources, which have made the great civilizations of the past.” 95

95 Ricoeur, 1965, p.276.

The importance of culture and space in the wellbeing of a vibrant community makes culture a key component of architecture and resiliency. I am left wondering, whether this creative nucleus of culture could be formalized to an architectural intervention, and how could these centers of gravity be located within the physical structure of a community? 157

Urban Acupuncture

96 Stux, Berman, Pomeranz, (1988) 2003, p.9.

Continuing the theme of the nucleus and the dual anatomy of a city is the theory of urban acupuncture. The theory coined by Barcelona urbanist Manuel De SolĂ -Morales in 1999, combines traditional Chinese medical theory with urban design. Acupuncture is a treatment done by strategically placing needles onto specific points along the human body to stimulate these points and relieve stress by blocking pain transmission. 96 Urban acupuncture uses small scale, socially catalytic architectural interventions as needles to relieve stresses in an urban structure. Points of stress within an urban structure are located through analyzing social, economic, and ecological factors of the city. Finnish architect Marco Casagrande describes the intangible urban structure and the idea of architectural intervention as acupuncture needles:

97 Casagrande, 2013.

“ Sensitivity to understand the energy flows of the collective chi beneath the visual city and reacting on the hot-spots of this chi. Architecture is in the position to produce the acupuncture needles for the urban chi. � 97 In order to have a longterm effect, the underlying causes of stress must be treated and revealed. Urban Acupuncture and social projects have been used to address issues that create vulnerability in communities such as social inequality and lack of education. Small scale architectural interventions are used especially in developing countries to promote the wellbeing of women and children. In Ishinomaki, urban acupuncture was used to implement small community projects that would activate community interaction and ultimately aid in the recovery through a ripple effect. I find that this type of approach of strengthening the social capital of a vulnerable community can also build resiliency towards natural disasters. Affected Community



Ripple Effect


Strategic Shift

I propose a new strategy that places the community in a key role within the cycle of disaster response and reconstruction rather than bypassing it. Shifting the pattern of organization to a down-up approach rather than top-down would enable communities become active members of response and reconstruction actions rather than passive recipients of predetermined universal aid. Rethinking and redrawing the cycle of reconstruction proposes that by increasing community resiliency, the phases followed by a natural disaster can be more efficiently addressed and the needs of the community better communicated and met. I believe that ultimately, a resilient community that goes through a more community based reconstruction process would recover from a natural disaster better and more quickly. The role of architects in the current pre- and post-disaster strategies is limited. The lack of time and need for immediate results in the post-disaster landscape drives architects to act based on their own preconceptions of the affected community and their needs. I have also found that given the lack of resources in pre-disaster phase it is nearly impossible to address all the vulnerabilities of the tangible structure through traditional preparedness and mitigation actions. I believe that by addressing and strengthening the intangible structure architects can have a positive effect on community resiliency and ultimately help the community to face post-disaster challenges. This is where the challenge of prioritizing efforts emerges again as the mitigation actions need to be started somewhere and progress systematically in phases dictated by resources and urgency. Architects have the ability to work as facilitators bringing together a range of disciplines and sectors to exchange insights and share lessons learned from their experiences in the field of disaster mitigation and response. This is an important skill that can be used in predisaster planning. Additionally, architects can increase education and awareness of risk by means of consulting. Local architects can act as a facilitators and aid the international and design community in understanding and organizing strategically placed architectural interventions within a community prior to disaster. I believe that these projects are the nuclei that ultimately ripple resiliency into the community. 160


Relocation Planning Reconstruction Response Relief


Affected Community


Preparedness and mitigation Existing Cycle of Reconstruction



Planning Reconstruction Response Relief POSSIBLE DISASTER

Local Community

RESILIENCY Preparedness and mitigation through locally embedded resiliency

Proposed Cycle of Reconstruction


Locally Embedded Resiliency

Understanding the intangible structures of a community and the role of culture in architecture and resiliency absolutely requires a local perspective. Resiliency against natural disasters requires a strategic shift in how architects approach designing for disaster. In order to tie the ideas of the nucleus, centers of gravity and urban acupuncture back into architecture I am using the idea of locally embedded resiliency. Locally embedded resiliency is achieved by implementing a network of public amenity that supports the community resiliency, would ultimately feed all sections of the reconstruction cycle and the whole timespan of recovering from a natural disaster. Locally embedded resiliency consist of a network of public buildings that include both the upgrated excising buildings that are found in an urban structure and new complementary buildings that follow guidelines of adaptable program. The purpose of this network is to formalize and connect the centers of gravity of the intangible structure. Similarily to urban acupuncture, the location of new complementary buildings are determined within an existing urban structure through evaluation of social needs but also by analysing risk and vulnerability to the impact of natural disaster. The term locally embedded resiliency represent the three key characteristics of this idea: (1) locally, highlighting the importance of the local community, people and culture. (2) embedded, meaning that the ability to respond to and recover from a disaster comes from a inner system. (3) resiliency, adding to the community’s ability to endure and recover from a natural disaster. Identified key public buildings would be re-arranged, transformed, and complemented with a new type of program that allows the use of spaces in both pre- and post-disaster phases. These buildings are the nuclei of the network of locally embedded resiliency. Using the theory of Urban Acupuncture to build a network of socially catalytic and empowering interventions into an urban structure. The effect of the intervention ripples into the community.


physical structure and public buildings

social structure and centers of gravity

urban acupuncture

locally embedded resiliency

nucleus – the new typology


Nucleus – The New Typology

Nucleus - the new typology is a component of locally embedded resiliency. A new building typology facilitates both pre- and post-disaster programmatic qualities and would be embedded strategically in an existing city structure. These buildings will act as facilitators of community resiliency. The dual program of the nucleus accommodates multipurpose facilities that can be utilized to meet both pre- and post-disaster needs. Firstly, the nucleus provides the public services needed in the community before a disaster event. This is the key to the idea of locally embedded resiliency because it justifies building these units even when the likelihood of a disaster is uncertain. Supporting community activities, offering education and supporting vulnerable community groups help build a healthier and stronger communities and ultimately add resiliency regardless of a disaster event occurring. Secondly, these nuclei would be designed to endure natural events by incorporated structural reinforcement and would be located in a low-risk area. Having structurally sound shelters embedded in the urban fabric ensure fast and safe evacuation in case of a natural disaster. The program of the nuclei can be transformed into offering shelter, food and emergency supplies, communication centres and offices. In more detail, these units can be equipped with independent electricity grid and communication network in order to secure the operational qualities of these buildings. And thirdly, this network would offer a disaster struck community a place and a meeting point within the community that would enable community members to meet and plan reconstruction and interact with other survivors. Furthermore, these familiar buildings would help reconstruct the ties between memories and places and which I believe would ultimately aid in the process of emotional and psychological recovery. From the perspective of design, the nuclei would follow the rules of local culture and architecture. Form, dimensioning and labeling of spaces, and the use of material are architectural components of expressing culture. This is another aspect that can only be considered when planning of disaster response is done prior to the actual event. 164

reinforcing the structure



adding new spaces or program to an existing building









DUAL Program The program of these nuclei buildings would consist of two main characteristics: a pre-disaster program and a post-disaster program. Local architect can create a planning forum for the community that would allow participatory design, and international architecture community can offer insights on what is commonly needed in a post-disaster building typology. Understanding that there are overlapping functions and that when spaces are planned to meet both sides, the transition between a pre-disaster scape and postdisaster scape can be smoother. Although the pre-disaster programmatic needs are derived from the cultural and social needs of the community, post-disaster organization has several typologies that need to be met. First being an adequate evacuation center and initial shelter for displaced people. This should fulfill predetermined space requirements and offer the possibility of added privacy for families, women and children. A planning platform is a space for the local community to hold meetings and discuss the on-going planning and to meet with outside professionals, aid group representatives and government officials. The space should be designed and equipped according to local standard of cultural design method. A rehabilitation center supports thriving economies and maintain livelihoods even after the initial foreign aid economy bubble has passed. Workshops and education should be offered to those whose livelihoods have been lost due to the effects of a natural disaster. The continuation of education for children need to be secured in the post-disaster topia. Undisturbed and successful school year allows children to recover faster and return to normal life. A communication hub would ensure functioning operating systems and communication networks which would quicken the initial response phase. First hand information from the ground level is important for the organization of foreign and government level aid. And lastly a community assembly space. Community resiliency thrives from shared experiences and social support. Providing the community an assembly space would help community members stay connected and information to flow freely. These are just examples of spaces and architectural interventions that could be used to build a frame for community resiliency. However, it is the resilient people that ultimately make a resilient community. Therefore offering an architectural network that supports mitigating the underlying causes to vulnerability in the pre-disaster topia is highly important also to the success of the post-disaster recovery. 166


educational facility spiritual space community center library sports facility city hall


shelter planning platform rehabilitation center educational center communication hub assembly space




This thesis proposes that architecture has an ability to formalize resiliency in the pre-disaster phase and that the role of an architect is not necessarily in the immediate aftermath of a disaster event but within the vulnerable community long before the first warning signs of a disaster emerge. The global landscape of natural disasters shows alarming signs of possible future scenarios. Increased population pressures in densely inhabited urban areas as well as the volatility of weather related events and disasters due to global climate change are making cities highly vulnerable to natural events. I find that the role of architecture in preventing natural events from turning into disasters is substantial, as the high number of deaths in disaster events is often caused by poor construction of buildings and lack of preparedness measures. Addressing the challenges of responding to a natural disaster in either pre- or post-disaster landscape is a field that requires the collective effort of several professions and disciplines. Although research in the field of global disaster risk mitigation indicates that preparedness actions mitigate losses and are favorable from both economic and humanitarian perspective, the action-based post-disaster relief efforts are more quantifiable and tangible and therefore receive the majority of attention and funding. The difficulty in motivating preparedness measures is the fact that the effectiveness of traditional preparedness methods, as presented in part 1, is innately intangible and invisible and has no immediate benefits and therefore is difficult to justify economically in a pre-disaster framework. I argue for a fundamental shift to make architectural preparedness methods immediately beneficial in the pre-disaster phase by implementing a dual program. Although the architecture community has been mainly preoccupied with offering post-disaster products, I find that the interest in the theme of resiliency and preplanning is growing. I asked, how can architecture better support communities to encounter a future disaster event and become more resilient? The answer would simply be – by supporting the community. Supporting a community raises resilient individuals and resilient individuals form resilient communities. I recognize that field of disaster preparedness is vast and architects and other professionals as well as international organizations and donors are also needed to respond to the 168

destructions of natural events. However, by shifting the strategy of responding to a disaster from reacting to being pro-active, and by involving the local community rather than bypassing it, the impact of a natural event can be mitigated and the reconstruction process improved. Visiting the case study cities gave me a more profound understanding of the situation in each case and a better understanding of the timeline of reconstruction. Although this thesis presents three cities that are different culturally, climatically and socially, I believe the general findings can be applied to several other cases as well. As I was interviewing architects who work in the field of disaster mitigation and resiliency, I started to grasp onto what seems to be a global network of professionals working towards a common goal – resilient cities. Architecture that can have a positive and empowering ethos in a community comes from engaging the vulnerable community directly through participatory methods and integrating the views of architects with the local culture and people. If or when a disaster strikes, deployment of disaster relief should come from an inner system that is supported by national and international aid groups, and where the community interacts and consults the external experts – and not vice versa. Having an existing model for response and predetermined guidelines for rebuilding helps communities and aid groups to manage post-disaster challenges better. In conclusion, this thesis is not about a design or an architectural product, it is about defining a new set of rules for design, and understanding how architects have gone wrong and what has been missed in designing for disaster. The idea of locally embedded resiliency proposes a method that would address both pre-disaster needs and post-disaster needs with implementation of a public building network of a new type of building, the nucleus, that provides a transitional program suitable for both pre- and postdisaster landscapes. I believe architects can have a long-lasting positive impact on a community and build resiliency over time by addressing directly the underlying causes of vulnerability to natural disaster – that is poverty and the lack of social capital, education and equality. 169

Helsingin Sanomat, November 12th 2013.



One year ago, I scanned this image from the Helsingin Sanomat news paper taken a few days after typhoon Yolanda hit the city of Tacloban. Six months later, I was sitting on the porch of the same house that is seen in this image next to the ship, waiting for the rain to pass. On November 8th 2014, hundreds of people in Tacloban are spending the first anniversary of the typhoon Yolanda still in emergency tents. During the process of writing this thesis, I was able to create a network of contacts around the world which I value greatly as well as gather invaluable experiences that shaped me as a person and as a graduating architect. I would like to offer my most sincere gratitude to all the people who made time for interesting discussions about architecture and resiliency: Akinobu Yoshikawa, Liz Maly, William Galloway, Leslie van Duzer, Jerry and Jimmy Yaokasin, Annely Yulangco-Yaokasin. A special thank you to Anton Diaz and Spanky Hizon Enriques for the time we shared in Tacloban. Thank you to our great Architecture for Humanity Team in Vancouver: Arthur Leung, Mira Yung, Linus Lam, Jaime Yee and Kali Gordon and their fantastic devotion to the project Next Big One. Thank you to my thesis adviser Saija HollmĂŠn and my professor Pirjo Sanaksenaho for the never ending support throughout this process. Thank you to my family, friends, people at work, and Christopher Erdman for all the love and support during this thesis and my seven years in architecture school.




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Photos by Milja Lindberg (Photos by Anton Diaz on pages 67 and 79) Diagrams by Milja Lindberg Map Data Tacloban Google Satellite Image City of Tacloban ArcGIS, Geographic Information System (GIS), www.arcgis.com Map Data Ishinomaki Google Satellite Image City of Ishinomaki ArcGIS, Geographic Information System (GIS), www.arcgis.com Map Data Vancouver Google Satellite Image City of Vancouver, Open Data Catalogue ArcGIS, Geographic Information System (GIS), www.arcgis.com


Profile for Milja Lindberg

Lindberg thesis  

Lindberg thesis