Saturday 31 October 2015

Planning for disasters

Japan as a whole definitely is vastly different from Australia. Physically, Japan's landscape with its flat land and undulating mountain ranges seems to be different to Australia, although both countries share common ground through having everything from coastal towns and cities to alpine ranges and rainforests. Differences include the large population, dense city living, building types, risk of natural disasters (earthquake and tsunami) just to name a few.

The combination of having a low sea level and being on the median tectonic line presents many complications. The airport in Kansai Airport is sinking at a dangerous rate, which has to be maintained as many planes fly in and out every day.The low sea level also makes for an interesting way in which natural disaster management can happen. Being at such a low level Japan also must deal with tsunami epidemics, like in 2011 when Sendai had a huge disaster on the shores. Once Sendai had been hit with such force and which devastated communities in the locality, the government had decided to set up a levy on the shoreline to help with an impact of a wave of the same magnitude. The levy was designed so that the people of Sendai would be safe, although the view of the ocean would no longer be available to the locals and also access to the ocean proves difficult which is hard for the fishermen of Sendai that made a living out of fishing off the coast.

Other management details consist of a buffer zone close to the shore that doesn’t allow people to build housing within an area that was devastated by the tsunami in 2011. This zone can be viewed by locals and visitors, and many housing foundations are seen along roads on the shoreline. With the buffer zone and levy in place, the chances of human lives lost in another catastrophe has been lowered by a considerable amount.

Added to prevention programs are the evacuation areas made to get to higher ground which can reach 11 meters off sea level. 
Disaster management also entails the management and hosting of people who could not avoid a natural disaster at all. Among the communities in Sendai, affected people and families that have lost everything are able to live in temporarily.

The fact that the communities of Sendai lost homes and family members, the government and groups that have helped these people has been wonderful, while there are many issues that need attention, the victims have a roof over their heads and food on their plates which are essential for living day to day.

Moving to Tokyo, we learned about economics involving buildings and the major families that owned them and had a huge influence on construction throughout Tokyo. Many of these buildings were built in regards to the interest rates of the yen. With the earlier Central Business District buildings only went up five stories, this building line was replicated even after new or redevelopment. This meant the building had the five storey main building as a facade and a new building which was unquestionably higher with a setback so the focus isn’t taken away from the original five storey building.

Noah Williams

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