Climate Change, Innovation and Architects: 2020 Olympics

Beyond Our Best: Creators Uplifting Japan Collective Ideas

Can the 2020 Olympics be an Occasion to Better Protect Japanese Citizens and Tokyo from Climate Change (Water Suge, Typhoons, Rising Water Levels in Asia) and Natural Disasters?

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Idea Stage Proposal

Problem: According to a May 2013 Asian Development bank report on climate change, rising water levels in Asia including Japan will create important problems for farmers and others in the next 40 years calling for the re-enforcement of ports and large adaptation costs. On March 17, 2014 the Japanese Environment Ministry also estimated that in the next 100 years Japan may lose as much as 85% of its beaches and triple the cost of flooding damage.

Tsunamis, typhoons and rising water levels call the Japanese and others in the world to innovate on new structures that can better protect its citizens, farmers and its coast. Climate adaptation cannot wait for a gridlocked climate mitigation agreements that have sustainable development goals for all nations.

Opportunity: In 2020, the same year that the Kyoto protocol has been extended through, the Japanese will host the Olympics in Tokyo Bay area. Can the Japanese use the Olympics as an opportunity to propose and possibly demonstrate new innovative structures to better protect Tokyo Bay and Japanese citizens from future storm surges, typhoons, tsunamis and rising water levels as well as inspire the world to follow or emulate?

Our focus is not the Olympics, but innovation on structures and ideas that can save lives and be used in Japan and elsewhere. We hope to help imagine new ways to stop, slow down or deviate water surge and waves other than the simple rock structures currently used on coastlines of Japan which have proven inadequate and are a blight to the coastal view.

Let us Imagine:

  • How could we stop, slow down, deter or better predict and measure waves or stop rising water levels in a manner that could save lives in Tokyo Bay and elsewhere?
  • Could sensors in a certain pattern resembling 5 Olympic rings in Tokyo Bay be useful for monitoring waves?
  • Could a structure stopping waves in the future be see through or clear and not obstruct the coastal view?
  • Could another wave be created in the opposite direction to alter a tsunami’s course or a typhoon’s force to slow waves down?
  • Could astronomers and NASA imagine with architects « interceptors » to deflect or alter the course of a tsunami ? Could some of the things that are imagined to stop or alter a meteor work on a wave or a surge?
  • Could a better understanding of coral reefs, objects floating on the ocean or forests absorb energy of tsunamis or lessen the force of waves from a typhoon? Could some of these structures (placed in the water) provide energy when waves are not a threat?
  • Could we create golf courses or pastures in low-lying coastal areas (when villages have agreed to move to higher grounds) that are landscaped in a manner that re-directs water away from highly populated areas and provide more time for evacuation?
  • Could Japanese farmland along the coast be landscaped to slow down the force of a tsunami and save lives while encouraging larger plots and competitive crops?

We believe that Japanese artists (architects and others) can work together to elevate, inspire, build and test new structures for Tokyo Bay that better protect Japanese citizens in Tokyo and elsewhere from climate change, all in time for some inaugurations before 2020.

During this process we hope to create more environmentally friendly Olympic games that contribute to the welfare of local citizens far after the games are over.

To do so we must be flexible, we must work with the Olympics and with scientists, governments, farmers and countless others to imagine innovations that can save lives and facilitate recovery. We must realize that some will work and others not. We must begin together now.

Architects and Climate Change, Crisis and Innovation

We appeal to Japanese architects to use their imagination to design new ways to combat environmental threats. We envision an interdisciplinary environment where architects exchange ideas with physicists, mathematicians, engineers and astronomers to think in revolutionary new ways.

We believe that the combination of Japanese architectural ingenuity and ideas from different fields of science would yield ingenious new solutions not only for protecting against tsunamis, but also for addressing rising water levels, earthquakes and other related environmental threats. In the future, we see the type of forum we develop becoming international and some programs even being implemented under the auspices of the United Nations.

If sufficient interest is shown, we will find a way to organize informal gatherings of architects and other interested persons to jumpstart this program.

Please contact us to get involved.  We need to work with the team making decisions for the Olympic Games, with Architects, Farmers, Astronomers, Landscape Engineers, Golf Course Architects and other Scientists. Together.

Nathalie Leiko Ishizuka

Director, Beyond Our Best : Creators Uplifting Japan

 

USEFUL LINKS :

UN and Resilient Design
http://www.resilientdesign.org/resilient-design-on-the-un-agenda-as-it-prepares-for-climate-change/
Asian Development Bank Report in Asia (and Japan) on Climate Change Challenges
http://www.adb.org/publications/cost-adaptation-rising-coastal-water-levels-prc-japan-and-republic-of-korea

The Rockefeller Foundation Grant to Resilient Cities http://100resilientcities.rockefellerfoundation.org/pages/about-the-challenge

Challenge for Architects and Scientists: 

Innovative Japanese Landscape Architects Explore Alternative Solutions to Seawalls  http://issuu.com/thehiddentokyo/docs/shibitachi_project_brief_01

Nuclear Power Plants at Risk from Tsunamis Around the World
http://inhabitat.com/new-study-shows-23-nuclear-power-plants-around-the-world-at-high-risk-from-tsunamis/

Earthquake structures
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/engineering/architecture/earthquake-and-tsunami-resistant-building-tech-5382936

Tsunami Proof House
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2544787/The-house-built-withstand-NATURAL-DISASTERS-Innovative-home-survive-tsunamis-earthquakes-85-mph-gales.html

Kobe Begins Research
http://www.apn-gcr.org/2013/09/10/workshop-on-climate-change-adaptation-disaster-risk-reduction-and-loss-and-damage/

Suggested Studies to Explore

FIELD SURVEY OF THE 2011 TOHOKU EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI IN MIYAGI AND FUKUSHIMA PREFECTURES, TAKAHITO MIKAMI∗, TOMOYA SHIBAYAMA† and MIGUEL ESTEBAN‡

Coastal Engineering Journal, Vol. 54, No. 1 (2012) 1250011 (26 pages)
⃝c World Scientific Publishing Company and Japan Society of Civil Engineers DOI: 10.1142/S0578563412500118