Urbanism Beyond Reconstruction
Reconstruction of Japan's northeast regions

A new affair on Urbanism is about to emerge in the northeast region of Japan. In March of 2011, a severe earthquake and tsunami hit the northeast region of Japan, the ‘forgotten land’, causing incalculable damage and the death of countless people. The 160km long powerful fishing region that served Japan’s stomach has entirely been washed away. It unmasked the crucial importance of the region for the world’s Hi-Tech industries. A crippling disaster still developing today it causes generic concerns on future vision: Nuclear power, world economy and notion of cohabitation. Japanese political focus has turned to end this chain of accidents. The cabinet announced the reconstruction committee - that includes Tadao Ando - and expanded its administration, a new Ministry of Reconstruction and one additional position of Vice Prime minister. Yet the scale of work required is massive and the course and precise factors of reconstruction required remain ambiguous. In the context of this disastrous situation, how should architecture respond and what strategies must be employed in order to relevantly direct the region’s future urbanity? In the past, massive ecological, pathological, and economic disasters have caused cities to be abandoned by their inhabitants for causes both known and unknown to us. The Maya, for example, abandoned elaborately constructed cities following irreparable changes to their civilization and environment. The twentieth century saw the construction of new capital cities, of places like Brasilia, which sprang from nothing and became central urban nodes. SEZ in China unlocks dormant potentials. In Japan, since the 1950s, a series of new towns have been planned and constructed, branded, and designed, while Tokyo exemplified new and characteristic models of megacity urbanism. Following the devastation and their aftermath, this northeast region is faced with the choice of whether to rebuild or abandon its past, whether to brand a new city or repair a once successful past. Sendai - the metropolis of the region - is not an exception. The concerns of the urbanism-in-demand are bound to the needs and requirements of a population displaced by massive devastation. Yet, should the region have an ambition to grow further beyond a mere reconstruction? Should the reconstruction be programmed as the urbanism which can initiate a change in Japan? Looking towards the twenty-first century, could we imagine an upshot reconstruction plan of this natural and man made disaster be the one to show the future form of urbanism? The questions are; where can population live, in what pattern could inhabitant commit their social-contract, what architecture sustain such ambition. This one week master class will research the strategic reasoning influencing these questions; While, also exploring the architectural and urban concepts and strategies appropriate for implementation.