Tokyo Takes Resilience to New Level – Survival Bunkers Disguised as Parks

According to a column on www.nextcity.org, Resilient Cities (made possible by the Rockefeller Foundation), Tokyo has done some interesting things to boost resilience.

The story starts with a little history. According to the article (link below) raging fires once reduced part of Tokyo, then built mainly out of wood, to ashes. The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 made it clear that there was a need for open spaces in the city center. There had previously been flammable materials on all sides, making it basically impossible for people to escape.

After the quake, reconstruction projects deliberately created refuge parks, which could be safe havens for residents fleeing fires and crumbling buildings. Today, those kinds of refuge parks still exist, except they’re way more advanced.

The article tells us those parks are essentially, cleverly disguised survival bunkers. “They are outfitted with solar-powered charging stations for electric bicycles and smart phones in case of electrical failure, public benches that transform into cooking stoves and manholes that double as emergency toilets. Under the rolling grass hills and cherry blossom trees are water reservoirs and storehouses containing enough food to allow entire districts to survive the critically important first 72 hours following a disaster,” the article states.

One park, the Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park, has lampposts fitted with electric outlets and LAN connections, temporary toilets and those benches that double as stoves, according to Next City. But its main focus is to be a headquarters for disaster-response efforts. It isn’t very close to dense residential areas.

Other parks are designed more for citizens’ usage. Hikarigaoka Park, for example, can support approximately 270,000 stranded people in a disaster, says Next City. It serves as a communications hub for the local area, and would relay information from disaster officials at Tokyo Rinkai to residents.

Next City notes that while these disaster parks are a boon to the city, there is still a need for them to be established in poorer areas.

 

See the original article here for more information: http://nextcity.org/daily/entry/tokyo-refuge-parks-survive-earthquakes-fires