Architecture for Humanity is collaborating with local design and construction professionals to reconstruct the northern Japan region where the earthquake and tsunami hit on March 11, 2011. Any community would have been devastated by such a disaster – Japan was better prepared than most. However, it is in the event of disaster that communities need assistance in rebuilding. Through our network of local design and construction professionals we are providing technical expertise to help build back better Tohoku.
As the first year response, we started our program by listening. We enlisted design fellows from Tohoku to ask the locals directly what they needed. By listening to them and reacting swiftly to their needs, we built trusting relationships with communities. This was a very important step for us as a foreign NPO (Non-Profit Organization) before discussion of rebuilding could begin. Programs such as Honyaquake and Road Home were our responses to immediate needs.
We have completed 11 in the 2 years that have past since the disaster, and currently have several more in design or under development. The following is the list of reconstruction projects that we have been working on. There were many bumps on our way, from typical bureaucratic issues to post-disaster stress within some communities, but our goal has always been the same: to rebuild sustainable communities and economies in Tohoku.
Although this was an earthquake of unprecedented magnitude, it was certainly not the first time Tohoku suffered from a tsunami. Their resiliency will help the reconstruction of the region. Architecture for Humanity is honored to be able to support such an endeavor, and would like to continue working alongside the community every step of the way.
PROGRAM AREAS | VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS | COMPLETED PROJECTS | CURRENT PROJECTS | WHAT'S NEXT | HOW TO HELP | TOHOKU REBUILDING TEAM 2012 | THANK YOU
In the same way that one acupuncture needle can influence the overall health of a body, we believe a single key project can work to create a positive ripple effect to aid the entire affected community in its recovery process.
Our focus lies on three branches of community reconstruction (access to sports, education and welfare, and economic development).
Access to Sports
Providing access to sports through the built environment is of strong initial importance in the recovery process, as it aids in rebuilding ties between individuals and promotes physical and mental health.
Education and Welfare
As children and elderly are vulnerable portions of the population, there is a need to reconstruct spaces for children to learn and play, and elderly to socialize and obtain the resources they require in every day life.
A number of financial lifelines - engines that allow communities to become self-reliant, were devastated by the tsunami. Helping local businesses recover, open, create jobs, and collectively provide a financial future is essential in building back better.
Ohya Green Sports Park
completion date: 2012.04
a sports park donated by coach Nofu to children who lost their play space due to the tsunami.
Shizugawa Judo Juku
Shizugawa, Minamisanrikucho, Miyagi
completion date: 2011.12
a temporary local judo center for elementary, junior high, and high school students that has trained 2 prefectural champions
Maeami-hama Community House
completion date: 2013.02
a community house designed using an innovative building technique, in a town where only five out of forty houses survived
Paper Crane Sculpture
completion date: 2012.01
2,000,000 cranes folded by students from 38 countries were sent to their Japanese peers and assembled into a large sculpture
Akahama Covered Alley
Otsuchi-cho, Kamihei-gun, Iwate
completion date: 2012.07
a covered alley connecting the lower and upper units of a temporary housing complex, encourages resident interaction
Kitakami Community House
Kitakami, Ishinomaki, Miyagi
completion date: 2012.12
a place for residents to shop for fresh produce, and a safe place for mothers to work while they watch their children play after school
Hikado Market Place
Motoyoshi, Kesennuma, Miyagi
completion date: 2011.06
a covered wooden deck made of salvaged timber from the tsunami, where community members gather to enjoy food and drinks
Ayukawahama, Ishinomaki, Miyagi
completion date: 2012.07
a space for the women's group of Oshika Peninsula Fishing Union to contribute to rebuilding back their village better and stronger
Shizugawa, Minamisanriku-cho, Miyagi
completion date: 2013.02
a workplace and warehouse ("Banya") for a group of 15 fishermen collaborating to rebuild a collective aquafarming business
completion date: 2012.11
as our first regional office in Japan, MakiBiz seeks to help small businesses in Tohoku rebuild and recover
Park for All in Kamaishi
completion date: 2013
a park and clubhouse surrounded by the nature of Kamaishi, where children can enjoy sports activities. Built in collaboration with KYSIN-no-kai
The tsunami did not differentiate between large and small businesses. In Ishinomaki alone, we do know that a total of 1,749 SMEs were affected, resulting in the loss of 472,000 million yen in profits and the loss of 18,000 jobs. Of these, 6,024 jobs lost were in the construction sector.
MakiBiz Helps SMEs
Recovery from disaster requires a holistic approach. Disaster survivors require access to a wide range of services, including counseling, education, training, construction and design. The integration of construction services with business support services is key to the long-term economic recovery of the region. We opened our first regional office in Japan - "MakiBiz," which seeks to help small businesses in the Tohoku region rebuild and recover. MakiBiz provides design, construction, and business development referral services to the community of Ishinomaki in support of their efforts to build back better.
Your donation will help fund the following projects we haven't been able to support financially, and many others in the future.
Two years have past, but the communities still need help from donors.