Japan: smart architecture and urban design saved the lives of millions

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20 Responses to “Japan: smart architecture and urban design saved the lives of millions”

  1. Anonymous says:

    To be fair, if Japan wasn’t a wealthy country nothing would have gotten built. It’s why you can’t just lay these same codes in Haiti.

  2. James says:

    I agree with SamSam. Huh? Twitter said what??

  3. dculberson says:

    This is an example I will point to when people complain about permits, inspections, and the like. This stuff works, and it’s important. You don’t like it, look at Mexico City after their various devastating quakes! I want my construction projects to hold up. I don’t want them to kill people.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Government regulation FTW!

  5. patrickpatrick says:

    Because the fact that in state based society, we are at the mercy of those with power, and strict laws are needed to act as a tap out in case the perpetual headlock ever gets too tight, totally proves the legitimacy of power and law based society..

    For instance had it been a horizontal hierarchyless society, the rich and powerful CEOS would have built their sustaining and enlightening financial office towers out of cement cut with sand right?
    And surely the people would burn all books on disaster safe building techniques. We all know its building codes that make us want to be safe in our buildings. With out them I don’t even want to imagine, we’d all just set up homes on pieces of plywood floating in the ocean and set course for the cape of good hope

    • dculberson says:

      It’s been proven time and time again that the lack of building codes or code enforcement DOES result in substandard and unsafe buildings.

    • Brainspore says:

      Like dculberson says, government-free building safety may work on paper but it’s never been borne out on a citywide scale in real life. Can you point to a single example of a society where market forces alone led to safe building codes?

  6. SamSam says:

    I’ve missed the reference. Who was “griping [that the headlines] would not appear today”?

  7. markclark says:

    First of all, I would like to thank @SKR for mentioning that engineers play a vital role in designing the structural stability in a building. As a structural engineer, the title of the article infuriates me because it seems *every* time there is a building that reaches new heights or survives a natural disaster, the architect gets complete credit. On the other hand, if a building or bridge collapses, the engineer gets all of the blame. I’m not saying that the structural engineer should escape the blame of failure on the occasion of collapse, they should just share some of the credit when it doesn’t.

    • Neo Displacer says:

      My grandfather, an engineer, always said, “doctors can bury their mistakes but engineers have to live with them.”

  8. SKR says:

    what hawkviper said.

    As an architect and a libertarian (doesn’t mean anarchitst btw) I have absolutely no problem with seismic codes. It is the easiest way for me to know how to design a safe building. Of course the engineer is the one really crunching numbers. The city doesn’t listen to me about any of that important stuff. But like Hawkviper mentioned not all building ordinances are created equal. Some are there simply to enforce an aesthetic and not safety and these are the ones that libertarians (and architects regardless of political affiliation) despise.

    @emmdeeaych

    I’m pretty sure the Red Cross is a private charity organization.

  9. patrickpatrick says:

    i understand that in the current power structure building codes are necessary. i think what i said was misinterpreted.

    i see the fact that power structures need building codes to prevent wrong doing says a whole lot about power structures. if i could dissolve building codes with the snap of a finger but could not change anything else i would not. if i could live in a localized autonomous horizontal community however there would be no incentive to build structures of questionable safety. it is only in a society where power structures are encouraged that this problem arises.

    and i’m certainly not talking about nor do i want anything to do with capitalist markets and economics. mainly i’m just trying to shine light on the status quo.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      if i could live in a localized autonomous horizontal community however there would be no incentive to build structures of questionable safety.

      It’s cheaper, at least in the short run, to build unsafely. It doesn’t matter if you’re living under communism, capitalism or any other system. Whether it’s the oligarchs or the community at large, people almost always choose to do what’s cheaper in the short run. Homo sapiens is very badly named.

  10. patrickpatrick says:

    “It’s cheaper, at least in the short run, to build unsafely. It doesn’t matter if you’re living under communism, capitalism or any other system. Whether it’s the oligarchs or the community at large, people almost always choose to do what’s cheaper in the short run. Homo sapiens is very badly named.”

    It’s cheaper when you live in a society when cost is measured in wealth rather than happiness and well being.

  11. David A says:

    There are no Libertarians in disaster areas….

    • Hawkviper says:

      You’re suggesting one can’t be a Libertarian and still support reasonable building codes, which simply isn’t the case. One can be all for thoughtful building design in earthquake/hurricane zones while also opposing onerous zoning ordinances that restrict whether one wishes to, say, have a vintage Coca-Cola advertisement on their house.

      • emmdeeaych says:

        if I may, I read his comment as meaning that in the immediate wake of a disaster, nobody refuses the help of the red cross or other communitarian organization (like local, state, and federal government, MSF, etc…) – and not as saying what you think it meant.

        • Hawkviper says:

          if I may, I read his comment as meaning that in the immediate wake of a disaster, nobody refuses the help of the red cross or other communitarian organization.”

          That’s a completely fair (if unremarkable) interpretation of the comment. The “rugged individualist” Libertarian stereotype is obnoxious from both ends.

          What pushes me to comment is simply the inane politicization of literally everything in the news cycle–a natural disaster in Tokyo, a literal Act of God™, is in less than twenty-four hours turned into an anti-libertarian talking point relevant effectively only to Americans.

  12. Cochituate says:

    This story is one that all the GOP science deniers can take to- doing things right can and will save lives. Putting lipstick on things costs lives, as it did in New Orleans.

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