When Disaster Strikes : The psychological impact of post-disaster relief within Japan, post March 2011.

When disaster strikes, support follows. Within weeks of a natural disaster, support is provided from various countries with the intention of helping communities. Buildings are formed where the dead once lay,the bodies of locals, family and friends. But in order to go on living, theirthoughts must be pushed away from these memories, removing morbid constraints. The structures formed for necessity become monuments of loss.Attempts at reinvigoration and simulation form glimmers within the decollate planes of destruction. However, often awareness fades and other disasters occur, leaving behind attempted relief and distressed communities.

The aim of this research is to understand and study the psychological impact of post disaster relief. This will specifically relate to the earthquake and subsequent tsunami within Japan, in 2011. Designers do nothave to live within the structures that they design, but the researcherwants to understand the impact that they might have on those who do.

To assist this research, investigations of relief designs and their impact onthe community will be studied. The focus will be the community of the northernJapanese area of Kamaishi, in the Tohoku region, and the psychological impactfrom the spatial innovations donated to them with the intention of support. Thisinformation will be gathered through researching various examples of designs thathave been built since 2011 in Kamaishi. Along with this, the researcher intends tocreate a wealth of information regarding the psychological effects of these spatial environment and policies through personal accounts from the community.

To create a comprehensive view of the subject, direct contact hasbeen made to organisations that produce these designs of relief. Therefore,this report will adopt the perspective of a non-native designer assessing theprocess of disaster relief before visiting the local communities. Studies of thearea of Kamaishi will be discussed in relation to the people surrounded byand using the structures. Then a fully informed guide of the approach to takewith any further projects with reference to creating psychological relief willbe contextualised. The designs are created for the people of the area, but of-ten designs remain inhumane possibly due to the cultural differences. By understanding the people’s views, it is intended to optimise the efficacy of future structures and policies. The expectation is to gain an understanding ofthe positive and negative impact that structures can have on the community.

Then a fully informed structural solution of the approach to take withany further projects with reference to creating psychological relief will becontextualised. The designs are created for the people of the area, but of-ten designs remain inhumane possibly due to the cultural differences. By understanding the people’s views, it is intended to optimise the efficacy of future structures and policies. The expectation is to gain an understanding ofthe positive and negative impact that structures can have on the community. 

(Full text on request.)

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