infrastructure, japan government, miyagi, planning, reconstruction

Miyagi govt unveils regional redevelopment plan, 4/26/11

The Yomiuri Shimbun

SENDAI–The Miyagi prefectural government has drawn up future blueprints of 14 coastal cities and towns that were damaged by the March 11 disaster, classifying areas to be redeveloped into three models–“plain type,” “ria coast type” and “urban type,” it was learned Monday.

The redevelopment plan arranges paddy fields, fishing ports, coastal areas with factories and residential areas with an eye toward ensuring safety and also preserving regional scenery.

The Miyagi prefectural government proposed the plan to cities and towns excluding Sendai that suffered serious damage and are unable to draw up their own redevelopment plans.

According to the envisaged plan, the plain type model will apply to the southern part of the prefecture such as Natori and Iwanuma where large paddy fields are prominent.

The government also has proposed that several roads be constructed parallel to the shoreline. Their construction would be similar to that of the Sendai Tobu Expressway, which sits atop a five- to 10-meter-high embankment that blocked the March 11 tsunami from flooding into inland areas.

To maintain the scenery of the Sendai Plain, paddy fields will be placed between roads, and residences will be built in inland areas. Thick dikes also will be built along the coastline.

The ria coast type model will apply to towns in the northern part of the prefecture, including Minami-Sanrikucho, that feature a hilly and deeply indented coastline.

Mindful of the region’s prosperous fisheries, the plan recommends that solid reinforced concrete high-rise evacuation centers be constructed along coastlines where fishing ports or tourist facilities are located. It also proposes that parks be built in low-lying areas.

This model was conceived because many reinforced concrete buildings withstood the tsunami. It envisages a town where residents live on hillsides and go to seaside areas to work.

In the history of many Sanriku coastal towns, residents moved to higher ground in the wake of tsunami to only later return living closer to the sea. The construction of low-lying parklands is intended to prevent residents from returning to live in these coastal areas.

The urban type model will apply to Ishinomaki and Kesennuma. Facilities encouraging industrial growth such as factories and fish markets will be located seaside, and roads will be constructed on raised ground to protect residences in inland areas.

In all three models, public facilities such as schools, hospitals and city and public offices will be moved to higher ground. Roads for evacuation will extend from the shoreline to the hills.

The prefecture also has proposed that wider four-lane evacuation roads be constructed because many people perished in the tsunami when they became stuck in traffic jams.

“These blueprints will serve as a basis to create towns that will be able to better withstand disasters,” an official of the Miyagi prefectural government said.

(Apr. 26, 2011)

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About liz

from the u.s., recently moved from kobe to sendai, japan, researching community-based housing recovery after disaster.

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