Following Japan’s Tohoku earthquake—questions that designers and architects now face
The magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami and nuclear disaster that hit Japan last March created an unthinkable tragedy that devastated Japan’s northern Tohoku region. According to the Japanese National Police Agency, the triple-sided cataclysm killed more than 15,000 people, displacing some 100,000 children, and caused tens of billions of US dollars in damage.
Although Japan is no stranger to seismic events, the Tohoku catastrophe was Japan’s largest known earthquake, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in recorded world history. Despite Japan’s familiarity with devastation and reconstruction – consider the 1923 Kanto earthquake, or the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 – there remain fundamental differences of opinion regarding the appropriate way to rebuild. The greatest argument concerns whether to emphasize a centralized or dispersed model of population distribution. [...]