On Saturday, September 10, results of ArchiAid summer camp research by teams from Tohoku Institue of Technology and Tokyo Univ. were presented at Shinminatomura (Shinko Pier) in Yokohama. The presentations and discussions began at 1:00pm and lasted until 3:00pm. The Tohoku Institute of Technology Fukuya Lab with Water Edge Studio of Tokyo Science University had researched Kobuchihama on the Oshika Peninsula, while the Tokyo University Chiba and Kuma Labs along with Teppei Fujiwara researched three smaller locations, Hamagurihama, Orinohama, and Kotakehama, also on the Oshika Peninsula. The presentation session began in the classroom at Shinminatomura, moved to the ArchiAid booth to look at plans and models, and moved back to the classroom for discussion. (日本語訳はこちら)
As in other cases, during the ArchiAid summer camp sessions, students take the lead, and are accompanied by professors. After preparation of maps and site models prior to heading to the research sites, the work involves three phases: on-site site study of conditions, hearings with community members, and preparation of proposals, followed by a presentation and feedback from community members.
Kobuchihama presented a number of challenges. The site is the neck of a smaller peninsula, with access to fishing ports on two sides. Prior to the tsunami, the town had 159 houses, but only 29 remain, meaning the town is over 80% destroyed. Studies of other bays in Tohoku damaged by the tsunami have led to renewal proposals based on similar conditions and elements: to restore the seafood industry and port as soon as possible; to move dwellings to higher ground; and to find alternate uses for uninhabitable low ground. At Kobuchihama there is very little high ground that can be made easily accessible for dwellings. Confronted with this difficulty, the research team has proposed creating high ground by leveling nearby hills and using the earth to fill large portions of the low ground where the town now sits. Other dwellings could be moved to higher ground on the periphery, and the road system adjusted to improve access. While reports from some other towns indicated difficulty with leadership and community motivation, the citizens of Kobuchihama appear to be extremely energetic and open minded about their future.
The Tokyo Univ. team included members from Kuma Lab as well as Fujiwara Teppei, but Chiba Lab played the central role. The three sites this team studied have distinct topography and other conditions, and each presents a different degree of potential for revival and restoration.
–Kotakehama is very unusual in that it is long and deep, a linear town with a central road leading downhill to the bay. Because of this topography, and the fact that the bay is sheltered by a small island, damage was limited and most of the town remains viable. The port and seafood infrastructure (predominately oyster farms, as in other towns in this immediate area) were destroyed however. The proposals for this town center on restoring the waterfront area and establishing a community center on high ground overlooking the town.
–Orinohama, on the other hand, is a shallow site, and much of its port was built on reclaimed land. Port and seafood infrastructure will need to be entirely rebuilt. A hillside adjoining the existing town and overlooking the ocean will be nearly ideal for building new houses, and the community is very enthusiastic about this idea. It was reported that community members offered very rational and objective suggestions concerning what kind of housing would best accommodate the aging population and decline of numbers in the future.
–Hamagurihama had only nine households before the tsunami, and now has five. The inhabitants are almost all elderly, and are quite objective about their future. They do not expect their population to increase in coming years, and would like to clean up the low ground where the destroyed buildings once stood, restore the function of the port, and make the town as livable as possible for themselves as they grow older. Some had expressed the desire for a windbreak to protect the remaining houses, so the team proposed planting trees on the low ground. In addition, the town once had an excellent sandy beach, now washed away, and the team investigated the possibility of moving the waterfront road and allowing natural processes to restore it.
During the lively discussion session, issues of leadership and community solidarity were discussed. Professors Chiba and Fukuya were of the strong opinion that all of the towns these teams studied have good leadership and excellent community spirit. Whatever restoration plans are implemented in coming years, if they succeed it will be because of the enthusiasm and determination of the communities themselves.
Introduction by Komei Okura (Tohoku Institute of Tech)
Presentation by Toshiyuki Ito (Tohoku Institute of Tech)
Presentation by Manabu Chiba (Tokyo Univ.)
Presentation by Manabu Chiba and Yuri Naruse (Tokyo Univ.)
KIT Future Design Institute Director