Rapid Visual Site Analysis for Post-disaster Landscape Planning: Expanding the Range of Choice in a Tsunami-affected Town in Japan

  • James Wescoat
  • Shun Kanda

Abstract

Problem statement In post-disaster situations, it is often necessary to undertake rapid visual site reconnaissance to characterise patterns of damage and identify reconstruction opportunities and constraints. Rapid visual site analysis can occur over a period of hours to days rather than weeks to months. The time constraint is often necessary to assess the viability of initial reconstruction scenarios and help broaden the range of choice among site planning options. Rapid assessment can also minimise the use of scarce local post-disaster resources during the initial reconnaissance phases of planning. Because it involves visual methods rather than equipment-intensive survey techniques, it serves as an initial scoping of alternatives. It may follow emergency shelter response planning methods (for example, Sphere Project, 2011, ch 4) and be followed by more comprehensive site mapping and screening. This action–research project reviews the literature on post-disaster site analysis with an emphasis on the tsunami-affected area of north-eastern Japan. Because research on rapid visual site analysis in post-disaster contexts is limited, we combined field-based site analysis methods, adapted for post-disaster planning, with visual methods for assessing seismic and tsunami hazards.

Author Biographies

James Wescoat
Shun Kanda