Japan plans new hilltop mini-cities in response to disaster

Japanese contractor Kajima is setting up camps in preparation for building hilltop mini-cities to rehouse the homeless in areas destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami in March, according to reports.

Architects have drawn up plans for homes to be clustered around schools, hospitals and small-scale powers stations in high locations and with greater seismic resilience, the UK’s Times newspaper reported April 4. “It is impossible to move every house uphill,” Kiyoe Myashita, professor of urban planning at Hosei University, is quoted as saying. “But public buildings, commercial centres and apartment blocks can be built in strategic locations at standards to withstand earthquakes.”

The first job, however, is to clear approximately 15 million tons of debris. The Times said officials must also work out how many homes will be needed, given that the number of dead or missing is believed to be more than 25,000.

Before the quake the coastal areas affected, in northern Honshu on Japan’s main island, had been seeing a steady exodus of people and an ageing population. Experts say some towns and communities will never be reinstated.

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