Survival Solutions

Amid the devastation wrought by the 2017 hurricane season and the 8.0+ magnitude earthquake in Mexico, Parsons School of Design at The New School—and Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership—have launched an innovative project to design solutions for surviving natural disasters. Earth Manual Project: Disaster Preparedness & Constructed Environments, kicks off with a week-long design intensive at Parsons in New York City, Sept. 11–15. RSVP now to a showcase of student work on Thurs., Sept. 14 at The New School’s University Center. Also featured: speaker: Hirokazu Nagata, chair of NPO Plus Arts and host: Robert Kirkbride, dean of the School of Constructed Environments (SCE).

SCE students will take inspiration from the various works and philosophies of Hirokazu Nagata, a leading expert on disaster preparedness education from Kobe, Japan. They will develop design solutions—architecture, interior design, lighting design and more—for surviving natural disasters. Students will look into case studies of Hurricane Sandy, the 1977 and 2003 blackouts in New York City and the September 11 terrorist attacks—as they focus on addressing catastrophes related to climate change, terrorism and infrastructure collapse. Research for each of the case studies is provided by the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School.

"Confronting the very real threat of natural disasters, the project reflects Parsons' and Japan Foundation's commitment to working collaboratively and across disciplines to address the most pressing issues of our time," reports The New School.

The design intensive is the first step in the creation of the first North American iteration of the collaborative exhibition—Earth Manual Project—which will be held at Parsons in fall 2018. Earth Manual Project is an accumulation of knowledge and ideas gleaned from the experiences of living through natural disasters. It will showcase thoughtful works by designers, artists and architects from Japan and Southeast Asian countries, as well as new, localized content from the United States. The exhibition and related public programs will encourage a collaborative, interdisciplinary examination of disaster preparedness across New York City; Kobe, Japan; Chiang Mai, Thailand);  and other communities to which the exhibition will ultimately travel.

Japan Foundation, created in 1972, is dedicated to promoting international cultural exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and other countries. Japan Foundation has been a driving force for international collaborations on disaster preparedness, such as Earth Manual Project. Center for Global Partnership (CGP) was established within the Japan Foundation in April 1991. CGP is dedicated to strengthening the global US-Japan partnership and cultivating the next generation of public intellectuals necessary to sustain this partnership. To carry out its mission, CGP supports an array of institutions and individuals, including nonprofit organizations, universities, policymakers, scholars and educators.