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Community-Driven and Clustered Housing Recovery after a Devastating Disaster

A Case Study on Hurricane Katrina and Great East Japan Earthquake

Tamiyo Kondo
Kobe University
tamiyok@people.kobe-u.ac.jp

Introduction

After a devastating disaster, the affected area loses all functions that are necessary for people to sustain their lives. One of the most important functions to recover is housing which serves as a basis for human life and community. The author has conducted research focusing on housing recovery after Hurricane Katrina (2005) and the Great East Japan Earthquake (2011), both of which have similarities such as a high percentage of submerged area, widespread and long-term evacuation of survivors and the vast extent of destruction of the built environment. This indicates that there are similar challenges for post-disaster recovery planning and housing recovery and that Japan can learn from failures of recovery after Hurricane Katrina.

Housing Recovery after Hurricane Katrina (2005)

The author has conducted field surveys in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina (2005), and tried to answer the research question “What are the factors that create the neighborhood housing recovery gap in terms of speed and property sales?” In other words, the goal of the research is to clarify the mechanism for housing recovery. The housing rebuilding survey has been conducted in three neighborhoods, approximately for 1500 properties, in Sept. 2009, Sept. 2010 and Sept. 2012.

Kondo (2012a) clarifies the housing rebuilding gap and jack-o’-lantern effect, which means densely populated neighborhood are coming back in bits and pieces, leaving some very sparsely populated, and pointed out that government financial support for individual housing rebuilding, actually compensation through the Road Home program, does not lead to community recovery(1).

Based on interviews with residents who have worked on community-based recovery planning in New Orleans, the author has set the hypothesis that the gap in housing rebuilding speed and home sales is formed not only by individual vulnerability and attributes of the community, such as income, race, and property values, but also by community networks and ties which are a key element for people to get information and decide to come back to their neighborhood and rebuild their housing. This might be the same as for the devastated area after the Great East Japan Earthquake in which local governments lost their function to take strong initiative in post-disaster recovery planning.

There is one promising technique and method for housing recovery used in New Orleans, “Elevate and Cluster” included in the Unified New Orleans Plan (2007), that is proposed to encourage residents to rebuild in clusters at higher elevations to help ensure vibrant neighborhoods and more efficient infrastructure costs in the context of a smaller overall population. This concept could be achieved by utilizing the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), the strongest initiative administered by the local government agency, the New Orleans Recovery Authority (NORA). The expected impact of this program is more than just to improve safety but also 1) continuation of the prior community, 2) housing rebuilding and restructuring community through flood-resistant designs and relocation, and 3) restoration of social services coordinated with individual housing reconstruction. The NSP is a national program, administrated by HUD that was established for the purpose of stabilizing communities that have suffered from foreclosures and abandonment. NORA works together with 14 consortium members, for-profit housing developers and non-profit community development corporations, to implement the program, utilizing and revitalizing properties that were blighted before and after Hurricane Katrina. It is not sure that CDCs and NORA could achieve these three impacts, however the author expects that this program, in theory, could be one useful housing recovery model after a devastating disaster.

Housing Recovery after the Great East Japan Earthquake (2011)

The Great East Japan Earthquake (2011) struck the Tohoku region where population decline and aging was serious even prior to March 2011. One of the crucial points for Tohoku recovery is to regenerate community in socially, economically, and physically sustainable ways. The strongest government-driven planning project is “Promoting Group Relocation for Disaster Mitigation” (Figure 1), totally funded by national government, that promotes community relocation to mountain areas, which intends to decrease risk from future tsunamis. Group relocation to mountain areas is one way of clustered housing recovery in terms of form, however there are several problems.

Firstly, group relocation triggers low-density development and urban sprawl. Government puts too much emphasis on decreasing tsunami risk, but the risk for non-compact city might increase. Secondly, this government program costs approximately 15 million yen per single property (US$ 150,000) to implement including land development expenses and financial assistance to buy property for individuals. Japan has to find an alternative way to encourage and make full use of private sector initiatives to promote disaster recovery. Thirdly, local government took full advantage of this program in order to provide financial assistance for individuals’ housing recovery in designated area. However, this widens the gap between the areas designated for the project those outside of it. Historically, housing policy in Japan is market-driven, same as in the U.S, and this means that there is little financial government support for individual housing rebuilding after disaster.

One unique phenomenon after the Great East Japan Earthquake is “self-help housing reconstruction with relocation” decided and conducted on the individual level. Survivors relocate to new land within the same city that was not submerged by tsunami and construct their own housing. Based on the author’s interviews, their priority is to restart their lives by quick reconstruction with safety. It is assumed that the government led project will take at least three more years from now, or 5 years after the disaster. Also, many survivors are waiting for the construction of public housing by the local government, but after one and a half years, only 1 percentage of planned public housing has started construction. If survivors rely too much on government’s public housing provision and projects, the speed of housing recovery will be delayed. This shows that we have to develop and prepare varieties of alternatives for housing recovery.

Housing Recovery methods for Sustainable Post-Disaster Recovery

What are the essential elements required for sustainable post-disaster recovery? The author defines sustainable recovery as one in which survivors can restore and recover their lives and their community, and at the same time, regenerates the built environment as a compact city in a safe manner in a depopulated society. The author set the hypothesis that clustered housing recovery, with characteristics of being community-driven, clustering, infill development and property transfer and swapping will be useful after a devastating disaster. Expected actors for clustered housing recovery are community-based development corporations that can work on holistic community recovery, including housing, social facilities and neighborhood ties. Most importantly, when community takes initiative in recovery activities, they can achieve their neighborhood recovery goals2).

Housing recovery can be categorized by actor, form, relocation, and development types. Kondo(2012b) categorizes housing recovery into “providing housing” and “mobilizing residents” types which are characterized by how residents are involved in housing recovery. In the former type, residents receive housing provided by a third party, such as government or non-profit sector etc. The latter type mobilizes residents’ power for housing reconstruction with outside assistance such as government subsidies and volunteers’ construction labor. “Mobilizing residents” is not limited to individual housing reconstruction, but also includes “community-driven housing reconstruction” for neighborhood recovery which enables residents to return to their former communities.

Figure 2 shows the four housing recovery types categorized by development type “infill development or new development” and housing reconstruction form “individual or group”. Which type is sustainable? Infill development might be a useful model for a depopulated society, clustering housing recovery (infill development, groups) and self-help housing reconstruction with relocation (infill development, individual). However, there are several problems caused by “self-help housing reconstruction with relocation” based on the author’s survey during 2012.

Firstly, it leads to community shuffling, and secondly, is a trigger to regenerate the built environment as non-compact city. However, self-help housing reconstruction with relocation could be sustainable with adequate control by the government sector, such as providing incentives for individuals to relocate to existing residential area through infill development.
The hypothesis is that “community-driven and clustered housing recovery with property transfer and swapping” would be a key for sustainable recovery. When compared with the government project “Promoting Group Relocation for Disaster Mitigation” and “self-help housing reconstruction with relocation”, the “community-driven and clustered housing recovery” might have multiple possibilities in three ways (Figure 3). Firstly, a CDC can utilize buyout properties to develop housing for neighbors including affordable rental housing so that tenants can come back to their neighborhood. Secondly, a CDC can have an eye for holistic community recovery, such as developing social service facilities such as retail and corner shops. Finally, infill and clustered development could avoid a non-compact city, and relocation to an area safer from disaster risks.

Toward Community Driven and Clustered Housing Recovery

What our global society has to prepare and develop is multiple alternatives for housing recovery. The author is planning to develop a model for community-driven and clustered housing recovery that leads to a sustainable and resilient community. The necessary future research question is how to implement community-driven and clustered housing recovery that enables holistic community recovery in terms of planning, program, process and stakeholder participation perspectives. One of the significant points is to expand the role of multi-stakeholder in housing recovery.

The Japanese national government estimates a worst-case scenario of a long-expected quake along the Nankai Trough that would cause more than 10 times the economic impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and the area that could be submerged by tsunami is twice as large as that of the Great East Japan Earthquake. We have to design and prepare the mechanism and process for a sustainable housing recovery for the next mega-disaster in Japan.

References

1) Tamiyo Kondo, 2012a, Annual Change of Housing Rebuilding in the Disaster Area-A study on housing rebuilding in City of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina (2005), Journal of Architecture and Planning vol.679, pp.2283-2292  (refereed paper) in Japanese, available at: http://www.tamiyokondo-lab.jp/pdf/essay/essay_26.pdf

2) Tamiyo Kondo, 2012b, Housing Recovery by Type of Resident Involvement‐Providing Housing vs. Mobilizing Residents, Proceeding of International Society of Habitat Engineering and Design (CD-ROM), available at: http://www.tamiyokondo-lab.jp/pdf/essay/essay_29.pdf

Tamiyo Kondo is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Engineering, Kobe University. She teaches housing policy and post-disaster recovery planning. Her research area is community-based planning and housing recovery after disaster. 

16 Comments
  1. Daniel Aldrich permalink

    Kondo-sensei, I found this paper incredibly exciting as it matches many of my own arguments in recent work on the 1923 Tokyo, 1995 Kobe, 2004 Indian Ocean, and 2005 Gulf Coast mega-catastrophes. Your argument “community networks and ties…are a key element for people to get information and decide to come back to their neighborhood and rebuild their housing” is spot on! I discuss how social capital and network ties decrease exit and increase voice, help residents overcome collective action problems, and create informal insurance and mutual aid.

    • Tamiyo Kondo permalink

      You are approaching to analyze relationship between response/ recovery and community resiliency through bird-eye view by using and analyzing Census data.
      I will try to demonstrate from insect-eye view by using annual housing rebuilding data in three
      neighborhoods in New Orleans, and questionnaire survey, planning in Sep.2013,
      for people who live in three neighborhood.
      The hypothesis is that community ties and information sharing gives strong influence for individuals’ desicion to come back to neighborhood and helps their housing rebuilding action.
      What is pointed out to date is that individuals’ vurnerability gives negative influence for their housing and lifeliwood of recovery, but I think community power could be positive factor to empower it.
      I look forward to seeing you in Berkeley to discuss in depth.

  2. Lisa Onaga permalink

    This was really interesting, and thank you as well for sharing the informative illustrations, which helped me visualize the recovery strategy you discuss. As someone outside of your field, I was curious to understand how you developed your key question, “What are the factors that create the neighborhood housing recovery gap in terms of speed and property sales?” I learned from the conclusion that you in fact make an ambitious proposal that “global society” must prepare and develop diverse strategies for housing recovery. It seems here that Katrina is a lesson for Tohoku and Tohoku is a lesson for a potential disaster to be caused by seismic activity in the Nankai Trough, so how might the community-centered recovery model work outside of Japan? If the question should remain focused on a model for Japan, I wondered what were the lessons from Kobe in order to argue for the development of a variety of alternatives for housing recovery? I also wonder, might it be possible to emphasize cases where reduced community resilience, following state development strategies or other policies, has made disaster recovery difficult? How is your work part of a larger discussion of the transformation of villages in Asia into cities in the 20th and 21st centuries, or, alternatively, why does Japan seem exempt from this discussion? I could easily see your paper integrate some discussion about population and development that could help convey your important vision powerfully. Thanks again for sharing this paper.

    • Tamiyo Kondo permalink

      Lisa, thank you for your comment.
      The first step to set my research question is that I want to examine the relationship between individuals vunerability and speed of housing recovery. In order to clarify this, I chooshed three neighborhood in New Orleans of which the rate of housing damage is similar, and their social affliation (income, race, property value and housing ownership)is different.
      In Kobe after Great Hanshin Earthquake (1995), the local government conduct land adjustment project, urban redevelopment in the neighborhood where get severe damage by earthquake, so I want to choose the area not influenced by government sector project for housing recovery.
      Secondly, I thought that after devastating disaster, individual cannot decide whether to come back even if they have enough money. I think it important to recover infrastructure, such as school and clinics, and also the who many neighbors coming back will matter for people to recovery their life.
      In order to pursue holistic community recovery, the actor should be community organization, and the
      community ties, network and resiliency could help individuals housing recovery.In New Orleans, the local government leadership for recovery is so weak when compared to Japan, so it was good example and field for me to answer this research question.
      The reason that I include property sale is that many scholar look at only population recovery rate, but I think the ideal goal for neighborhood recovery is that everybody who want to come back could come back. That’s why important to clarify how much neighbors leave their neighborhood, so I check property sale which show the transformation of neighbors.
      I think the community-driven and clustered housing recovery might be model for devastating disaster. I am not sure how this will work. If the scale of disaster is not big, it there is some government funding assistance and homeowners insurance could be funding source for individual’s housing recovery. The actor for housing recovery can be individual in that case, however, when disaster became catastrophic, the expected actor for housing recovery should be community organization to conduct holistic neighborhood recovery.Not clustered but community-driven housing recovery is done in Kasongan village in Jogjakarta after Great Java Earthquake(2006).
      I think the most inportant lesson learnt from Kobe Earthquake is that Japanese society lack the options for housing recovery. It is said that Japanese government help socially vurnerable population by providing them public housing, but little support for middle class for their individual housing recovery. It is pointed out after Kobe that the public housing would destruct peoples ties in their community, however, the more inportantly, the problem is that we lack alternatives that the diverse people could achieve their housing recovery.
      Local government project, Land adjustment project is general planning strategies to construct wide road and make open space in order to reduce the risk of earthquake and fire, but it is proved by many research that this project will lead to delay of peoples’s action to rebuild their housing and mostly tenants will leave the neighborhood, then, community resiliency in terms of their ties, would decreased.

  3. Kondo Sensei, I completely agree that a key question, moving forward, is “how to implement community-driven and clustered housing recovery that enables holistic community recovery in terms of planning, program, process and stakeholder participation perspectives.” That is a difficult and multifaceted challenge! As Lisa suggests, the answer will differ depending on the community and the society in question. In Japan, it seems that just about everyone from farmers and fishermen to cabinet ministers claims to agree on certain ideal ways for communities to recover — e.g., the central government’s role should be primarily to provide financial and other support, while critical decisions should be made at the local level with input from all relevant stakeholders. Yet, in practice it does not seem to work this way. I have been struggling to understand why this is the case. I suspect that there is a whole complex of multiple reasons (political, cultural, historical), but I would like to identify and articulate some specific, key factors. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    Also, do you think that implementing holistic “CDC” recovery and risk reduction strategies can be done without structural changes to Japanese government or other social institutions? Or, to ask this question in a slightly different way, how do current institutional structures limit certain aspects of your “CDC” vision (e.g., meaningfully involving all stakeholders in planning processes), and what kinds of changes could be made to liberate communities from these limits?

    • Tamiyo Kondo permalink

      Tyson, thank you for your comment.I agree with you that the role of national government is supporter.
      What I think is the most problem after Great East Japan Earthquake is that national government and some professionals, does not understand the importance of consensus building amoung multiple stakeholders to examine in what way community will regenerate. It seems to me that they believe that there is scientifically correct answer for community recovery plan for ,such as decision to relocation for mountain side or not. If they relocate to mountain side, fishermans lifes will change and if they construct tall tsunami wall they loose their landscape. There is always trade off between disaster reduction and daily lifes, and also trade off between speed and deliberation as Olshasky(2010) says.

      My opinion is that to purse better answer, the mutiple stakeholder invovement is the key.
      It is important to think about not only present peoples’ life, job and housing recovery, but also future sustainable community. To discuss about now and future, and individal’s housing/job and community as a whole,there needs to be not only survivor who lives now, but also professionals who can think the recovery more longer-term and spacially more wide.

      For community-driven and clustered housing recovery, it is difficult in Japan to achieve this because of several laws that non-profit org.,such as community development corporation and housing coop could not be property owners.If we say housing coops in the U.S., the owner is coop themselves, but in Japan, the coop could not be the owner,but the coop in condominum that residents is owner.

  4. Scott Knowles permalink

    Kondo Sensei thank you for sharing this important work. I found the comparison to New Orleans enlightening. Your essay fits well with Dan Aldrich’s as we try to think through the relationships between pre-disaster community vulnerability and post-disaster recovery.

    I am particularly interested in your model of a multiple stakeholder “all of the above” approach to housing recovery. One of the real challenges, as you know from your New Orleans work, is that an economically depressed region already faces shortages of market demand and frequently has poor housing stock even before a disaster strikes. Half-hearted attempts in the US to alleviate poverty through public housing assistance has not been sufficient to overcome powerful currents of deindustrialization, racial bias in housing, and environmental pollution in marginalized areas. The post-disaster rhetoric is always that in the “temporary world” of recovery anything is possible, and marginalized communities will be brought back to life–back to a way of life better than before the disaster. The fact is that wealthy communities bounce back, poor communities present a much more mixed picture. I wonder if you see any of the same problems in the Japanese communities you are studying? What role do broader Japanese attitudes and political support for public assistance and public housing have to do with post-disaster housing recovery?

    A related question–attempts to force Americans off of dangerous terrains through the use of eminent domain and state subsidy has rarely (if ever) met with success. It’s a political non-starter, and very unpopular among citizens, even those who are flooded out again and again–proof that culture and tie to place trumps economic “rationality.” Is there a similar backlash against the Japanese state-sponsored relocation program? How is the state managing the political effects of this process?

    I have more questions–but I’ll save them for the meeting.

    • Tamiyo Kondo permalink

      Hi,Scott. Thank you for your comment.
      In depopulated and aged society, I think it important to think about the tenure of housing providion and management. In Japan, public housing shares 6-7 percent amoung all housing stock and 60% is homeownership the rest is private rental housing by market. I wonder afforable housing as community-owned and managed housing stock is needed in peace time and also after disaster.
      But I am not sure and confident about this idea.

      In Kobe (1995-), low-income and tenants could get into affordable public housing with better physically condition when compared to their previous housing.On the other hand, the middle-income experience hard time to rebuild their housing with little support from government and with their double housing loan. The wealth people bounce back. My opinion is that the government role to providing public housing for people who cannot afford to rebuilding their housing is crucial but to some degree ,not too much. In New Orleans, the low-income and tenants cannot come back to city without little support from government sector. I think it also important for individual to have private insurance to secure funding by themselves also not too much rely on government sector in Japan.In the U.S., the insurance is main funding sources not only for housing recovery but economic recovery in the country, but the percentage of uninsurance economic loss in Japan it too bigh compared to U.S.

      Mountain relocation has been promoted by government sector not only after 2011.03.11, but also since Meiji-Era Sanriku Earthquake Tsunami(1896) and Showa-Era Sanriku Earthquake Tsunami (1933). But fisherman come back to sea side area because it is not convenient to sustain their life and job. I think to think about disaster risk only is not correct. We have to consider about other risk by relocation such as change of livelihood of people.As you might know, this happens after Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004) also.

  5. Kath Weston permalink

    I learned a lot from the comparative perspective developed in your research and look forward to introducing your paper at the forum. In the meantime, I wanted to pose a few questions. In Japan, do you think what you have discovered about community-driven housing recovery in tsunami affected areas has application for towns that had to evacuate due to radioactive contamination where people may not be able to return? In that case, would you expect to see differences between recovery efforts by people from towns that evacuated together, with mayor and government structures intact, and towns where people left individually? Also I wonder, since sustainable housing is just one part of sustainable life, whether policy exists to coordinate housing with livelihood. For example, farmers from lowland valleys in Fukushima have been relocated to mountains where, even if the new community is compact, they cannot farm much and may not have a way to generate income. In New Orleans, do you know how groups with strong community roots like Common Ground regard the “Elevate and Cluster” model, since they have (I think) mainly pursued an infill strategy? One way in which the post-Katrina case may not parallel the post-3.11 case is that the history of housing in the U.S. includes 1960s urban renewal schemes in which government joined with developers to deliberately scatter African American communities by politicizing the process of declaring a neighborhood “blighted” and evicting residents. That history is still alive for many African Americans from New Orleans who don’t trust the government intentions and think some white residents would be happier if they didn’t come back.

    • Tamiyo Kondo permalink

      Kath, thank you for your comment.
      I think I got three questions from you.

      The first is for application of community-driven and clustered housing recovery for Fukushima.
      When does this model of housing recovery works and needed is the question.
      The image of my clustered housing recovery, in physical form ,is that less than 100 housing units rebuilding by cluster for their safety and continuation of community. However, if I define clustered housing recovery is a collective decision of peoples to think about how and where to rebuild housing, , as process, it might work for Fukushima evacuees also in order not to loose their social network and keep their hope to recover their lives.
      I realized by your question that to the professionals asistance, such as planners, is neede to implement this model.It is hard to achieve only by neighbors.

      Second is the question how to define sustainable disaster recovery. I explained too much narrow way to define the concept in terms of physical sustainable aspect,but not with enough consideration of social and economic sustainable aspect.Your comment is correct.

      Third is implementation of infill housing development in the U.S. and Japan. I found that in wealthy neighborhoods in New Orleans ,one of their neighborhood recovery goal is not to decrease their property values, which mean that they don’t want rental housing to redevelop and tenants will move into their community.They are trying to change the zoning code for it. Generally speaking, I think one of the factor that generate and keep neighbors willingness to involve in managing their residential area is to protect their property values. This might work well for empowering neighbors coming back to neighborhood in post-disaster recovery period, but it will lead to elimination of low-income and tenants. My observation is that wealthy neighborhood is becoming more wealthier by exclusional zoning and local government program “the Lot Next Door” will also accelerate this trend. I found many property with luxurious pool in big garden in wealthy neighborhood. When compared to U.S situation, I think there might be more possiibility to implement infill development approach.

  6. I’m happy to see someone comparing Japan to New Orleans. It is part of my work in thinking about flood control on the Shinano Rivers (Japan’s longest, as the Mississippi is to the US). I have multiple questions and issues that arise from this discussion:

    1) Although Kobe comes to mind as a source of “lessons learned” in Japan (and there clearly are some, e.g., the emphasis in recovery on “three lifelines” of electricity, gas and water; production of hazard maps), given the demographic nature of the Tohoku area, are lessons from the two major Niigata earthquakes more appropriate? Although economic/population growth in Kobe and the Kansai has moderated, the depopulating trend of rustic Niigata seems closer to Tohoku than Kobe, and there, at least in a number of areas, the earthquakes accelerated depopulation, something likely to shape housing needs in many parts of the Tohoku.

    2) Although relocation to upland areas is noted here and in other papers, we should be alert to the potential for moving from the frying pan to the fire. The Japanese mountains may not be typically high, but slopes are steep, and landslides can be common (between 1950 and 2003, Niigata Prefecture alone, one of 47 prefectures, experienced more than 4,500 landslides). Typical new-development construction patterns which extend a narrow land shelf by landfill in order to accommodate new housing are often especially subject to collapse according to engineers with whom I have consulted. Just as tsunami are caused by earthquakes, one of the principal causes of landslides is identical: temblors. Discussion of recovery needs to include explicit recognition that residents are faced with a set of risk trade-offs and individuals will respond to these risks in a variety of ways. Some of the people cited here clearly are willing to accept the tsunami and storm risks of coastal life; others have likely had enough; for many younger people, simply moving to the big city, regardless of risk (Kanto area population keeps growing, despite the increasing risk of a major earthquake).

    3) I will be interested to hear more about issues associated with the discussion of low-density urban sprawl and potential risks of non-compact cities. As rural China shows, village residential areas can easily include high-rises, so I’m not sure sprawl is inevitable although it might mean giving up the ideal of single detached housing common in Japan’s rural areas today.

  7. Tamiyo Kondo permalink

    Hi, Phil. I enjoyed reading your manuscript also.Thank you for your comment.
    1) You are right that Nigata and Tohoku is similar in terms of social and physical environment.
    I want to answer is the question how we can achieve housing recovery for diversity of population after a devastating disaster, so I choosed Hurricane Katrina and Great East Japan Earthquake as a field. But you are right that when I demonstrate the effiency of community-driven and cluestered housing recovery approach, I have to think about the country and region’s culture and social/physical environment also.

    2)I have same opinion. What I am not trying to figure it out is the disaster history of mountain relocation sight in Tohoku region. My hypothesis is that relocation to mountain to avoid tsumami risk will increase the other risk for landslides.

    3)When I say compact city in Tohoku, my image is the single detaced housing concentrate in inner area of the city, not high rise condominium. Local government is providing grant for individual such as construction fees and water supply works in mountain area where used not be place to live.
    I think this government program will give negative effect for local government funding to maintain their utilities in the city.

  8. Very interesting comparison indeed. Like translating, comparing is a key component of analyzing materialized and very concrete situation, in other words “cultural contexts”. Perhaps we should think to renew Actors Network Theory (alias “sociologie de la traduction” in Callon, Latour, Aldrich et al’ seminal works) through that angle.

    I think you share a lot of common questions with Ryuma and Mikihito’s papers, regarding communities reconstruction and inequalities shaped by age etc.

    Besides, following on Kath’s comment about radiation, in your future fieldwork and articles, may I encourage you to include comparisons with the sociology of the do-it-yourself (DIY) radiation monitoring movement (see for example the papers of Yasuhito’s and Luis’s in session 3).

    About the “self-help housing reconstruction with relocation”, let me try a scilly question: what about DIY interior business like Ikea (quite popular in Japanese urban areas isn’t it?)? Have they tried to take part of that initiative? What about housing companies?

  9. Tamiyo Kondo permalink

    Hi,Paul. Thank you for your comment.
    I approgize for my poor explaination for “self-help housing reconstruction with relocation”.
    This means that relocation was decided by individual themselves, not reccomended or forced by local government projct, relocation for mountain side.
    It is rade that individidual construct theiir housing by themselves, private companies do.
    However, there are problem that lack of construction company force many residents to wait for their work. If they have money or land, they just have to wair.
    Since public works have decreased by national government intiative in Japan,this leads to decrease of private construction company. This gave negative influence for delay of reponse for debrees by tsunami also.

  10. Kondo compares housing recovery strategies pursued following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans with the need for housing recovery strategies following the 3.11 disaster. While there are similarities regarding the need for housing recovery between Hurricane Katrina and the 3.11 disasters for the communities that suffered damage from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, there is a significant difference in housing recovery between communities damaged by Katrina and those damaged by the Fukushima nuclear disaster. In communities ravaged by Katrina in the U.S. and by the tsunami in Japan, the question was how to ensure safe recovery from a known threat of hurricanes along the Gulf Coast and tsunamis along the Northeast Coast of Japan. The uncertainty created by the nuclear power plant explosion and the uncertain impact of radiation over time on the communities in Fukushima create a much more difficult, high consequence event.

    Kondo omits this dilemma in the characterization of threats in her paper. If she limited her inquiry to the comparison of housing recovery after the recovery process following Katrina in the U.S. and following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, it would be more accurate and more informative. The concept of ‘elevate and cluster’ as the basic premise of a housing recovery program is indeed relevant to the tsunami-affected communities in Japan, but raises different questions regarding access to transportation, utilities infrastructure, and cost.

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