Disaster Design and Development

The class begins on Monday Sept 12th. Please email instructor at [email protected] if you are interested in taking this class.
This seminar provides an introduction to seismic disasters in relation to urban development, planning and design. According to the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN ISDR), in the past decade, at least 60 percent of the people killed by disasters died because of earthquakes. By analyzing the processes of earthquakes, landslides, liquefaction and tsunamis, this course delves into the influence of seismically induced hazards on patterns of urbanization in relation to site selection, land use decisions, national economies and the policies supporting them. Given that the Japanese island arc is one of the most disaster-prone regions situated along the Pacific Ring of Fire, we will use the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Japan as a lens to ground the discussion topics in current events.
This course is taught at the Graduate School of Design and encourages interdisciplinary enrollment to engage the multi-dimensional complexity of seismic hazards and coastal urban development. The course is structured with lectures, discussion sessions and workshops, culminating in a term project which develops a proposal specific to the reconstruction and preventative measures currently being discussed in Japan. Several sessions will be co-taught with Jenny Suckale, a geophysicist who has consulted in various disaster management projects in the South West Pacific and is currently teaching at the School Engineering and Applied Science. We will also have guests such as Doug Alhers who teaches management of disaster recovery at the Kennedy school and structural engineer Audrey Brook who has worked on seismic design of infrastructure in Japan. Beginning with the general principles of risk analysis and understanding the science behind plate tectonics, we will cover technology, engineering, and economic issues as they intersect with the public sphere. Employing case studies, prototypes and mapping methods, this seminar provides base knowledge on strategies of prevention, mitigation and preparedness in the fields of design and engineering to address the proliferation of natural catastrophes in cities worldwide.