COMMUNITY REGENERATION PROJECT: After the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011

In recent years, natural disasters, such as earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, high wave, tornado, volcanic explosion, draught, and forest fire occur frequently all over the world. In Japan, natural disaster, such as earthquake, tsunami, flood, and landslide, happens every year, and as a result, it causes human damages and collapse of local community. Especially, the Great East Japan Earthquake left twenty thousands dead and missing and the decline of the vitality continues in many local communities regardless of reconstruction work in the disaster area. The disaster also caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and many local people still remain refuge even after four years have passed. Such complex disaster may occur again in the future. However, causes that decline social vitality are not only natural disaster but also man-made ones such as wars, disputes, epidemics, sea level rise, climate change, air pollution, and water shortage. Local communities therefore require keeping resilience that recovers themselves from serious damages and prevents from collapse. This project tries to consider and propose possibility of designing resilient community that keeps regenerative power through participating in volunteer activities in Ishinomaki city in Miyagi Prefecture.

There are three projects according to target sites and implementation schedule. The first project is Mt. Kinka Project (October 2011 – Ongoing), the second project is Ajishima Project(July 2014 – Ongoing)and the third project is Watanoha Project (July 2014 – Ongoing).

SPEDAGI PROJECT: Social Design and Distributed Production Exploits Local Natural Materials

This project promotes a geographically distributed manufacturing that exploits local renewable natural materials instead of contemporary industrial production systems that consume a large quantity of material derived from fossil such as plastics. Furthermore, this project tries to develop and exploit the products in order to tackle social issues that local communities are faced. Spedagi is a coined word that combined morning with cycling in Indonesian. This project was initiated by Mr. Singgih Kartono, an Indonesian’s world-famous product designer. Material used for bicycle is bamboo that grows naturally all over the country. This renewable natural material that grows quickly and is provided abundantly has been used traditionally for building materials and daily necessaries. Although in the past bamboo bicycles have been also made all over the world, most bicycles had a characteristic of crafts-like production and it probably had better call it a work of art in terms of performance and price. However, Spedagi bamboo bicycle has been adopted an industrial production method and developed the design that is possible for medium volume production. Moreover unique point of this bike is that its use and role have already determined. That is, the riders must perambulate local community in order to find issues and its solutions through conversation with locals. Bicycle is also proper because sometimes, they have to run to the scene, so that cars won't be flexible and walking will be slow. Spedagi bamboo bicycle is developed as a means of social design.

There are two projects according to target sites. The first project is to participate in Spedagi Project in Indonesia (January 2015 – Ongoing). The second project is Spedagi Japan Project (April 2015 – Ongoing).

PICTURE BOOK PROJECT IN CAMBODIA: Support of Nation-building with Design

Many intellectuals were killed and books were burned during Khmer Rouge period (1975–1979). Literacy rate of Cambodia is 76.3, which is the 133rd place out of 183 countries. It is pointed that this low literacy rate is one of the factors that hinders development of this country. TZU DESIS Lab will make a free downloadable picture book written in Khmer language for Cambodian children in collaboration with Oya in Cambodian Mekong University in order to improve this situation. However there are no picture books adapted to Cambodian culture because most books were imported from abroad or donated from international charity organizations. Even though some picture books are made in Cambodia, pictures in the books are usually very scarey and the children are frightened, so that they don't dare to read it. This project aims at contributing to nation-building through making a picture book that enable them to read and write while Cambodian children delightfully learn their own culture. Students in Cambodian Mekong University will collect stories heard in old days from their grandparents, and the Lab will make a picture book from collected stories. We will contribute to cultural sustainability by recording memory of children’s stories that grandparents heard in old days as picture books.


TZU DESIS Lab will advance sustainable community development in Tama area in cooperation with a class of the graduate school. We set Tama area for the case study site because our university is located in this area. We are going to initiate project that improves and solves social issues this area faces. We don’t end up at solving issues but we are also going to initiate project that change the area into distributed energy food and production as well as consumption.