Mapping project

Communities in Tohoku were unimaginably hard hit by the combination of the earthquake, the tsunami, extensive fires and the nuclear plant disaster. Despite this, their people are still resilient and want to plan their futures. In order to help them with this, the Third Responders Initiative is creating a system by which they can visualize their situations in terms of a mapping project. This project is designed to generate three maps: one of the past (heritage), one of the present (challenges) and one of the future (potentials). These maps focus on the issues involved in rebuilding human settlements and utilize Doxiadis’s concepts of Nature, The Person, The People, Shells, Networks and Synthesis to organize their contents. In line with this, households and local businesses/institutions will become the focus of each map.

The Map of the Past (nature and the person) will be developed through interviews with displaced individuals, particularly senior citizens that focus on traditions, local lore and family heritages in the community. It will seek to reconstruct the lives of the people in the community in a way that will serve as a living memorial to those who were lost by carrying awareness of the impact of their work and lives into the future. The data used in it will include text, photographs, video and audio recordings placed on a special Google Earth Map.

The Map of the Present (people and shells) will draw on surveys of the community to assess the whereabouts and housing status of the population. It will help in visualizing the continued community existence during what may involve an extended diaspora. It will do so by defining the current status of the population and providing opportunities for its members to meet and interact through the creating of virtual spaces and places. These spaces and places can be as simple as online messaging points, or as sophisticated as an interactive virtual reality platform. Among these places will be such things as a virtual city office, virtual schools and clubs, as well as cafés and meeting points for elders. The data used for this will include current census materials along with texts, photographs, live video and audio with a navigation capacity and virtual reality element.

The Map of the Future (networks and synthesis) will engage all of the members of a community by providing them with an opportunity to envision and discuss alternative designs for its future. It will integrate social networking into community decision-making by applying systems designed to promote social consensus. These systems will utilize a “mash-up” approach similar to “Wikipedia” that will permit users to collaboratively envision a new future. It will also permit people to produce alternative proposals that can be synthesized into the launching of a Tohoku Renaissance. The data used for this will include text, photographs, drawings, models and inputs from software capable of generating systems models and images of the community.

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