Any thoughts, ideas, information about how landscape architects in Japan can use their skills to help out after the shock? Relief and/or restructuring?


Any organisations/NPOs like Habitat for Humanity & Architects With Out Borders that anyone is aware of in Japan that one could get involved with?

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I can't fathom the thought without feeling like a buzzard! 


.... send money after the needs are assessed and the relief organizations are in place.

...  pray for them if you are religious.

can we design landscapes that catch the stuctures before they slide into the sea, thus preventing all the incredible debris we throw into the ocean..Although apparently the plastic gyre while frustruting, is apparently not as bad a pollutant as nuclear power plants and air-born toxics..You can make it look pretty - p ossibly, - but you can't call it quits at that..

I think food and water are priorities right now... electricity is down=no water supply. Pipes broken/flooding=water polluted. Roads, rail ways & harbors destroyed = no delivery of food/supplies.

Their needs are very basic at this point... unless you can rapidly deploy mobile desalinization plants and figure out how to launch canned goods 3,000 miles without having them explode on impact or kill people... how cool would that be? Bomb people with food (love) instead of bunker-busters... like rockets you play with in school, the nose pops off, a parachute deploys and a tube of canned food floats down to earth... how many thousands of pounds of food/supplies could we shoot?

Architecture for Humanity - Cameron Sinclair has begun organizing his efforts
I don't know. But it is heartbreaking. Anytime I see scenes like this I want to run over and starting shoveling with my hands. :( I think it will be a long time until they get to the rebuilding point.
My thoughts go out to all the Japanese people...... it is a devastating time for those living there.

My future thoughts are that landscape architecture can play a future roll with sea defence design, is it time international funding was available for offshore design to prevent devastation from happening again? or is nature to be left alone????

It's unrealistically cost prohibitive to build structures substantial enough to deter tsunamis for all but the most key locations. Even then, if you build a big levy, Mom nature will build a bigger storm. I mean, did you see what that water did!? What would have stopped it?

The best "design" solution is to not build in locations that are only 3' above sea level... IE most of Southern California / resort destinations... Give the ocean plenty of room and you won't have these problems... if we leave the natural buffers, such as mangrove forests, intact, they will help protect the shores, prevent erosion, clean the water and provide wildlife habitat... maybe nature is the best designer and we should abide by her rules instead of using expensive and heavy handed methods in an attempt to have our way with her...

Just watch, instead of looking at aerial photos and saying,"OK, that's the high water mark... lets not build any closer than that..." I guarantee that rebuilding in affected areas will begin as soon as possible...

Nothing can be done without prohibiting settlement along shores. In much of Japan, high seawalls already existed and were utterly useless againts such a powerful tsunami. Most of the structures (including the nuke plant) were not designed for a quake of such magnitude, and yet they hold up (even the nuke plant is still containing the cores, the radiation is being vented and is less than getting a CAT scan at the moment, the containment vessels have no been breached).


Japan is in possibly the WORST area considering seismology, LA, San Fran and Seattle ain't much better. Japan has made due by engineering what they can to adapt to minimize damage and loss of life. No amount of design or "trying to beat nature" would have suceeded in this case. The quake was SO HUGE and SO CLOSE to shore, nothing could have been done.


Wishing them all the best in this tragedy.

Japan does not have the luxury of McHargs "rocket science".. its a small, crowded island country with few energy sources. 125 million people live in a country the size of the state of Montana.They already take extreme stewardship over what little land they use and have.

The japanese are some of the most resourceful people around, esp when it comes to energy, design, small spaces and social interaction between humans and nature.... a 3000 year history... indeed there are some lessons to be learned, but McHarg is not news.

yes its not a question of ignoring McHarg, they have already taking the layering into consideration many, many generations ago without McHarg's input - but with their own collective knowledge, memory and experience with water vs land vs resources.

McHarg-ism was not going to stop at 25 foot wall of water, at 550 m/p/h.

We can only be amazed that the tragedy did not claim hundreds of thousands of more lives. In most other coastal places, with such a large population, the death count would be closer to a half million... to this degree, I admire their common sense and ingenuity.

They out designed the quake, but nothing is going to stop a 30' wave. Their design and standards are great for earth quakes. This was as extreme as it gets and all indications are that there was little damage from the quake.. As my professor, who happened to be from Japan, used to say "never build in a flood plain" as I type from elevation 20 (not in a flood zone).

"Now you know!"

I have to wonder what they could have done. The only things to do are to avoid the areas that are at risk...and even this situation was extreme. Six miles inland? That was a monster quake...extremely close too shore. What are the chances of that? I don't even know. I do not believe landscape architects have some magic elixir to tame mother nature.

I am from the Seattle area...and although we often hear about "the Big One" is still a coin toss of sorts. We all know it will happen. Will it be tomorrow? 50 years? 100 years? As more time goes by it is hard for the next generation to appreciate they may need to build seven miles inland. And what if there was an even bigger Tsunami? Up near Marysville, WA there is a lot of flat, boggy land with sloughs...watching that tsunami rush up I couldn't help but wonder how protected Puget Sound is?




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