Concept to help enhance earthquake resilience for businesses

A fishing boat is among debris in Ofunato, Japan, following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami

A developer in one of the world’s most hazard-prone countries has urged public and private sector leaders to embrace his company’s vision of building cities that “people escape to rather than run away from” during disasters.

At the Japanese launch of the 2013 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2013 (GAR 2013), Mori Building senior general manager Shuichi Sano said: “Mori Building has recognised the need to explicitly deal with earthquake risk in the construction and maintenance of its developments.

“We promote an urban development concept that seeks to build a city to escape into rather than a city from which people run away.”

A survey of office requirements of more than 1,000 companies in Tokyo, just after the 2011 earthquake, revealed that 92% of firms regarded earthquake resilience as the most important factor in their decision making.

The second most important consideration (55%) was the building management to have proven disaster management capability. Back-up of electricity to avoid power outages (51%) was third.

The Tokyo launch of the GAR 2013 had added symbolism and significance after the recent announcement that Japan will host the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai City in March 2015, coinciding with the fourth anniversary of the 2011 disaster.

Sendai City was the biggest urban area in the Tohoku Region, which was damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.