It has been six weeks since the Tohuku Earthquake and Tsunami devastated the North Eastern coastline of Japan. We've assembled an assessment team in our office in Sendai and are bringing representatives in Tokyo and San Francisco. By May 1st this team will begin to refine our program with the guidance of our 6 person advisory group. 90% of our team are Japanese nationals and like other post-disaster programs we will tap into existing local professionals.
This week the government presented a broad reaching 10 year plan for the renewal of affected areas. While the plan is a thoughtful approach to recovery it notes full reconstruction will not be possible for the coastal towns/cities of 'Kesennuma, Minamisanriku, Ishinomaki, Onagawa, Higashi Matsushima, Matsushima, Rifu, Shigoama, Tagajo, Shichigahama, Sendai, Natori, Iwanuma, Watari and Yamoto' due to the enormous damage as a result of the tsunami. As we dial down to a more granular level the status of projects will be affected by additional restrictions. This is part of the process and the need for us to be the voice of the community yet dovetail into the grand plan.
To this extent we have begun to look at five initiatives to invest our funding in. We will work with these local groups and help bring in potential partners to assemble a strong coalition to build back better. These projects are:
Village Scale Reconstruction
Commitment: Design Services
If it takes a village to raise a child, what will it take to raise a village. We are talking to a couple of community representatives to help rebuild a small village (or relocate families) to create holistic, strong and economically resilient renewal.
Commitment: Design Services
A number of economic avenues were devastated by the tsunami. These financial lifelines are the engine that allows communities to become self reliant. We are looking to help a number of local shops and businesses recover and open, creating jobs and a financial future for affected communities.
'Road Home' funds
Commitment: Design Services, Funding and FFH Support
While many buildings were destroyed there are a number that were on the verge of completion and available for occupancy by families staying in shelters. We have the opportunity to house a number of families in the transitional phase while their homes are being repaired. Working with furniture companies we can give families a sense of normalcy and a path to the road home.
Orphanage and Art Therapy Center
Commitment: Design Services and Construction Funding
Many parents were working at ports or fishing while their children played at school. The greatest tragedy is often those left behind and it is our responsibility to not only care for but Inspire, engage and support this group. working alongside a number of local universities we will look to design, develop and build a small orphanage and an art and music therapy center.
Commitment: Funding and Advisory Support
Archi+Aid is a coalition local architectural professionals working within the region to look at rebuilding and reimagine the affected area. Architecture for Humanity is the US fiscal sponsor for this group and will advise in the long term reconstruction phase
Long Term Rebuilding Manual
Commitment: Development and Production