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Godzilla Gardening: Strategies for the Reconstruction of Earthquake-Hit Urban Environments

Part 1 Project 2011
Thomas Tait
University of Innsbruck Innsbruck Austria
This work is a proposal for a new approach to the reconstruction process of earthquake-affected urban environments with the aim to convert the energy of the earthquake into a positive urban momentum which empowers a productive reconstruction effort leading to an overall improvement of the city.

Current practices constitute the relocation of the city's population, the removal of rubble and debris by large scale machinery and the construction of new, hastily designed or cloned buildings. I propose an immediate continuation of urban activity. After the earthquake, city inhabitants move matter and material to safe those trapped beneath the rubble. It is a crucial moment in which the city's construction material is moved to an unprecedented extent. I propose that this instinctive action which is for the most part executed with bare hands be extended to the whole building environment. Parts of buildings which are intact can be extended with parts of collapsed structures which are bent or fractured - a dynamic reconstruction which does not require a two hear hiatus and relocation, is immediately initiated. This way the city's reconstruction is not planned but generated, not a mere recreation, but an evolution of the urban fabric. Functions which cross and overlap in the aftermath of the earthquake spark new business models which can readily be activated by developing a space around them.

To support the reconstruction my interventions in the city are a self-sufficient hydro-collector which addresses the danger of epidemics and the demands of hygiene after the earthquake, an algae-based concrete stabilisation and rebinding agent facility triggered by an earthquake's vibration and a ballet school for elephants. In the ballet school elephants will learn to stomp and run in unison, creating vibrations which will be opposed to those of the earthquake and hence counteract it's destructive effect. Furthermore they can help locating and liberating trapped human beings with the help of their acute sense of vibrations. For this latter task they will need to act cautiously and sensibly in order not to further destruct the fragile city structures. Learning ballet will teach them to move with sensibility and precision.

Thomas Tait


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