Build Back Better Tohoku

by Architecture for Humanity


Architecture for Humanity is collaborating with local design and construction professionals to reconstruct the northern region of Japan, where the earthquake and tsunami hit on March 11, 2011. It has been three years since the disaster, but many communities still need assistance in long-term reconstruction. Makibiz, our regional office in Japan, provides design, construction, and business development services to communities in the Tohoku region.

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On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.03 earthquake struck off the shores of northeastern Japan. The tsunami did not differentiate between large and small businesses. We know that a total of 1,749 SMEs were affected in Ishinomaki, resulting in the loss of 472,000 million yen in profits and the loss of 18,000 jobs in Ishinomaki alone. Of these, 6,024 of the jobs lost were in the construction sector.


A number of economic avenues were devastated by the tsunami. These financial lifelines are the engines that allow communities to become self-reliant. Through our "Urban Acupuncture" projects, we are helping a number of local shops and businesses recover, open, create jobs, and collectively provide a financial future for their affected communities in the same way that acupuncture needles can influence the overall health of a body.

Long-Term Impact

Recovery from disaster necessitates a holistic approach. Disaster survivors require access to a wide range of services, including counseling, seminars, training, workshops, construction, and design. The integration of construction services with business support services is key to the long-term economic recovery of the region.


Architecture for Humanity Tohoku Program Page
Tohoku Program Page (on Open Architecture Network)
Tohoku Program Two Year Anniversary Report 2013
Tohoku Program One Year Anniversary Report 2012

Organization Information

Architecture for Humanity

Location: San Francisco, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Architecture for Humanity
Hiromi Tabei
Project Leader:
Hiromi Tabei
San Francisco, CA United States

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