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Architect's "sky villages" to protect Japan from tsunamis.

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CNTV, February 8, 2012
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It's been nearly a year after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan. Now a Japanese architect is proposing a novel solution to the ongoing problem of how and where to rebuild villages destroyed by the disaster. Keiichiro Sako says the answer lies in what he calls "sky villages".

Architect's "sky villages" to protect Japan from tsunamis. 

It's an idyllic scene set years into the future. The coastal plains of northern Japan, decimated by a tsunami in 2011, safely repopulated with communities sitting 20 metres above the ground.

It may look like fantasy, but for Japanese architect Keiichiro Sako, it's a very real plan to protect the towns of northern Japan from tsunamis. He calls them sky villages.

Keiichiro Sako said, "I wanted to find a way to allow allow people to go on living and working safely and securely down in the plains; that's why I started the Sky Village project."

Last year's earthquake and tsunami, left behind a trail of flattened towns and villages all along Japan's northeastern coast. Now, under plans announced by the government in April, many of the area's old fishing villages will be abandoned in favour of new settlements on higher ground - further from the shore and the threat of killer waves.

But Sako thinks his sky village plan presnts a better way to keep the populace safe without sacrificing the old ways of life.

Keiichiro Sako said, "How do you live safely in low-lying areas? The only real choice is to build a man-made high ground. Now if you do that, and it's a square building, it will probably get smashed into head-on by a tsunami. So I thought what we should go for is a round structure on concrete foundations."

The interior of the foundation would be hollow, with space throughout for industry, offices and essential services. Each foundation would support up to 500 houses.

Sako says the combination of tsunami barrier and living space will keep fishing communties close to the shore, and save the government the expense of remodelling mountainous regions to make space for brand new towns.

Each sky village would take about three years to build - and last for 200 years, a viable and watertight alternative says Sako, for communities that want to stay where they are.


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