The project consists of four, phased forum modules that – in their accumulation – will contribute to a broader, more inclusive vision-making process for the long-term revitalisation of Japan's disaster-struck Tohoku as well as other regions, marked by similar structural problems. The project seeks to connect Japanese and international practitioners and an interested public in Tokyo with activists, citizen groups and professionals, active in Tohoku communities and to facilitate an exchange of ideas, best practice experience and practical support. The different modules will be launched in four phases that gradually expand the reach of the project and raise critical awareness for building a better future, rather than replicating past urban planning mistakes.
The situation of Tohoku’s reconstruction effort is marked by a growing number of promising reconstruction projects in various places and on varying scales. A single place, however, where all those initiatives are discussed, archived, mapped, curated and made available does not exist. This makes it difficult for organisations and individuals, willing to help, to smoothly engage in reconstruction activities. As few aid organisations or local citizen groups have experience with reconstruction of such total and vast scale, the lack of shared practical knowledge and information requires every new project to start from scratch. Although communication in the various sub-publics (architects, urban planners, professional and academic bodies, designers, activists, citizen groups) is increasingly taking place, the broader public seems to be left out. Long-term, comprehensive visions aren't as widely discussed as Japan's critical situation would require.
The project will facilitate a more interdisciplinary, comprehensive and longterm-directed vision making process that is inclusive and promotes the dissemination of innovative ideas and strategies. To utilise international experience and encourage mutual learning processes, the project seeks to connect Tohoku communities with other regions in the world facing similar problems. The different project modules have different sub-objectives and will deliver each, own, clearly defined outcomes:
The Tokyo Forum is organised by Architecture for Humanity Tokyo (AfHtyo) and Tokyo Planning Forum (TPF). It aims to become a node for creative reconstruction discourses and a facilitator for exchanging ideas and contacts between individuals and organisations, interested in contributing to the revival of Tohoku. The results of the monthly forum event will be posted on the project homepage and the initiatives discussed will be presented in an interactive, crowd-sourced map of module 2.
The The Virtual Forum will provide a detailed, continuously updated overview of which people and organisations are doing what, where and how to achieve Tohoku's long-term revival. This information is presented in a consistently formatted fashion and located on a map. Also requests regarding needed skills, materials, knowledge, experience and man-power can be made here.
The Traveling Forum will physically connect the various reconstruction activities in the communities of the disaster-hit areas, record and archive previously unknown initiatives, facilitate the discussion of reconstruction plans between professionals and local citizens, provide a temporary free space and constitute a mobile counter point to the AfH Tokyo Forum.
The International Forum seeks to connect communities in Tohoku with partner regions across the globe that are equally marked by ageing societies and atrophying local economies.
Aims and Strategies
The strength and uniqueness of this project is to offer an expandable platform, consisting of four modules. Various actors and initiatives can ‘dock’ into this open architecture to maximise the impact and continuity of the project. Furthermore, instead of delivering the project single-handedly, the organisers seek to collaborate with existing initiatives, who can organise the different modules. This allows for utilising expertise and experience.