Adult Programs

34th Annual Bishop White Committee Winter Luncheon

Reconstruction, Resilience, and Redesign

Challenges of post-tsunami rebuilding of Northeastern Japan

with André Sorensen Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Human Geography, UTSC

This talk examines some of the major issues of reconstruction after the devastating tsunami in Tohoku on March 11, 2011. Hundreds of settlements were destroyed, and in many areas virtually nothing was left standing. 15,800 were killed, 3,200 were still missing as of February 21, 2012, and 6,000 were injured. By February 9, 2012 over 342,000 were still evacuees, and 325,000 were living in temporary housing. Total damage was estimated by the Cabinet Office in June 2011 to be equal to some 16.9 trillion yen, or about US$215billion.

A powerful factor shaping recovery processes in Tohoku is the recognition that even though this particular tsunami was exceptionally powerful, it will not be the last destructive tsunami to hit this coast. In the last 120 years, this is the fourth tsunami that has caused serious damage. In such a context, what is an appropriate response in rebuilding? How can a more resilient, more sustainable, and less vulnerable settlement system be created? The lessons learned here will be valuable, as the scale and cost of disasters around the world has dramatically increased in recent decades.

Andre Sorensen is the author of the prize-winning book "The Making of Urban Japan" (2002) and has been studying Japanese cities and urbanization for the last 20 years. In 2007 he was elected as a  Fellow of the University of Tokyo Faculty of Engineering for his outstanding contributions to research and scholarship on Japanese cities. Since the tsunami disaster in March 2011 he has visited Japan and the affected areas on 3 extended research trips, the most recent for seven weeks in June and July this year, doing interviews with decision-makers, planners, and local officials, and participating in planning meetings for reconstruction projects.

Chinese Luncheon by the chefs of Lai Wah Heen Restaurant.

Cost: $80/person with tax receipt for maximum allowable portion.

Valet parking available at a special Winter Luncheon rate of $15

Proceeds of the Bishop White Committee programs will benefit the East Asian Section of the Royal Ontario Museum.



Mandarin Ballroom, Metropolitan Hotel
108 Chestnut Street, Toronto