[REACT-LIST] Can your city survive the apocalypse?

Ron McCracken ron.mccr at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 19 11:30:01 EDT 2015

Some food for thought, especially as we recall the disaster comms were in NOLA. Do at least some members of your Team hold ham qualifications? They will be a valuable asset when it hits the fan. Is amateur radio part of your Team's preparedness measures? Even veteran hams are now recognizing the potential of cheap Chinese ham radios to enhance comms in emergencies. Check out their low prices online. Encourage Team members to get the basic ham ticket. It's easy, and current hams will help. Classes are held near you. Now is the time to prepare. Now is the time to diversify your radio options for a disaster.




Can your city survive the apocalypse?By Kieron Monks, for CNN
Updated 1436 GMT (2136 HKT) July 21, 2015
 destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina was heralded as a 
wake-up call for the U.S., a catastrophe that illustrated the scale of 
the threat from natural disasters, and the inadequacy of preparations.
 for all the earnest talk of 'learning lessons' that followed, no grand 
reform agenda was put in place to revitalize a city that remains 
devastated and deeply vulnerable. 
 by its position -- much of New Orleans sits below sea level -- ancient 
infrastructure and widespread poverty, the next disaster could be the city's last.
 Sandy underlined the urgency by ruthlessly exposing New York's 
structural weaknesses, paralyzing power, water and transport networks as
 the lights went off across Manhattan. California also suffered as 
historic droughts settled in, and the 2014 wave of winter storms 
terrorized the North, emphasizing that extreme conditions were here to 
stay and could strike anywhere.   
This bought the U.S. into line with the global situation. The U.N.'s global risk report anticipates
 a record $314 billion of damage through natural disasters each year, 
exacerbated by the effects of climate change such as rising sea levels 
and more common 'freak' weather conditions. The report also highlights a
 widespread lack of preparedness and "continuous mispricing of risk."
Responding to disasterOf course, there are few easy answers to how to withstand a hurricane or ferocious drought. 
Eye-catching novelties such as Vincent Callebaut's prefab coral reef design in Haiti, or Dan Nelson's tsunami-proof house offer originality but are difficult to scale. 
 more grounded and systematic approach to resilience is beginning to 
emerge. Boston narrowly escaped a battering from Sandy but remains 
threatened by rising sea levels, and the city recently sought designs 
for a new age with its ground-breaking competition 'Living with Water.' 
 solutions flooded in from floating parks, to charge basins that provide
 hydrokinetic energy, and protection through elevating the most 
important parts of buildings, such as power hubs.    
Rebuild By Design,
 launched in the wake of Sandy to discover and implement resilience 
measures, has initiated wide-ranging projects worth almost a billion 
dollars across the Northeast. These include the 'Meadowlands' led by MIT
 that would cultivate natural buffers as flood defenses in New Jersey, 
while the grandest scale project would protect Manhattan with a 
re-designed waterfront including water-based social spaces, waterproofed
 buildings and additional bridges.
A bespoke solution is needed for each environment, says Amy Chester, project manager of Rebuild By Design.
 is no one size fits all approach - every region is completely 
different. New York won't get a tsunami. For us hurricanes are a big 
threat, and we are looking at the immediate threat."  
 believes that institution-led development must be combined with 
building resilience at an individual and community level. 
 first thing is shoring up property to withstand whatever comes at it. 
Communities are able to bounce back quicker if the water and electricity
 systems still reach them." 
"We need a
 wider paradigm shift but we won't get there unless people are ready to 
make small choices, such as making home improvements a bit greener and 
reducing waste. We trade off working in public schools and improving 
infrastructure long term. We need public opinion and with incremental 
changes a tipping point arrives."
 by Design looked to the Netherlands for inspiration, which has always 
faced the threat of water damage and has been at the forefront of 
developing solutions. 
'Out there' solutionsDutch
 architect Koen Olthuis has pioneered an approach of building on the 
water itself, creating floating structures on a foundation of foam and 
concrete, using 'scarless' techniques that don't damage the environment.
 His designs are in development from a hotel off Norway to a community in the Maldives, and the concept of building islands has become popular around the world.
 only limit is finance," says Olthuis. "Building on water is much easier
 than people think, it just needs a mind-set change -- people have to 
see water as a threat but use it as an asset."
The concept has gone from 'freak architecture' to a practical necessity, he believes. 
 are starting to see the possibilities -- it could bring safety and also
 create new spaces. Hong Kong, New York and London have no space left to
Amphibious solutions also 
offer greater flexibility, allowing for the possibility of temporary and
 mobile buildings. One striking suggestion is that Olympic stadiums 
could be transferred between host nations rather than each country 
bearing their enormous costs. 
Ultimately, Olthuis' designs are in service of addressing equality and the communities most at risk. 
 with money can own places that are higher and drier, and people with 
less money are more threatened. By having this technology on a larger 
scale we can improve the safety of threatened places. The natural 
location to do that is places like the Maldives, where you can have a 
positive effect on the slums and change the DNA. In this way, you can 
use architecture to create a more fair society." 
 Dutchman favors a joined-up solution that combines resilient structure 
with urban planning that best protects the vulnerable points, along with
 sustainable practices that can forestall future danger, and effective 
disaster responses. 
Learning from the front lineFew nations have been so devastated as Japan in the wake of the 2011 tsunami, and fittingly it is Japanese architect Shigeru Ban
 that has led the field of innovative disaster relief, winning the 2014 
Pritzker Prize for his structures across the world, such as the 
paper-based cabins used in the Philippines.  
Aftermath of Japan tsunami, 2011.Ban stresses the importance of using local resources and local labor:
 time it's totally different...that's why I have to go there to find a 
specific solution. I'm using local materials, the traditional materials.
 It's too expensive to hire contractors, so I propose construction 
methods that can be done by the victims themselves."
 has broken the mould by valuing aesthetics and dignity in his emergency
 homes, painstakingly matching color schemes and facilitating privacy. 
Many of his temporary designs have remained in perpetuity and serve as 
models for adapting architecture to a dangerous environment. 
"There are no boundaries between temporary and permanent," says Ban. 
 US has much to learn from regions suffering the worst of extreme 
conditions in its efforts to formulate an effective, coherent response, 
says Rachel Minnery, Director of Built Environment Policy at the 
American Institute of Architects.
seismic risk, Japan is a beautiful example, as safety from natural 
disaster is a priority for them. When advertising new apartment, seismic
 safety is as important as the granite countertop. It's not that we 
don't do that now, but new construction is only a small part of the 
built environment."   
Japanese buildings are now commonly base-isolated,
 so that the foundations can absorb a shock without toppling the 
structure, a technique that will be increased demand with new reports 
indicating a catastrophic earthquake threat
 to the West Coast. Minnery wants architects to work across disciplines 
with the construction industry, labor force, planners and policy makers 
to ensure that resilience has the funding and priority it requires. 
 has been movement. The President's Climate Action Plan will mandate 
that states include climate hazards in their disaster mitigation plans, 
and Minnery is confident that the innovative resilience concepts will be
 adopted once they are proven, whether this means flood-proofing, 
seismic retrofits or building on water. 
The agonizing concern is that such measures may arrive too late.  

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/21/tech/disaster-architecture/index.html-- 
Check out http://groups.yahoo.com/group/californiadisasters/
Read my blog at http://eclecticarcania.blogspot.com/
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        Posted by: Kim Noyes <kimnoyes at gmail.com>        

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