1. Site Design

Landscape architects can engage in site-scale design for layout of individual dwelling units, communal facilities, etc., for both short-term transition and long-term purposes. The design would address issues of disaster mitigation through low-impact design and sustainable practice through selection of materials, integration of building and site design, understanding of socio-cultural patterns, and community building process.

  • Low-impact site design
  • Sustainable dwelling unit
  • Community Gardens
  • Communal facilities – from emergency relief to community rebuilding

2. Site Planning

Landscape architects can engage in larger-scale site-planning that considers landscape strategies for disaster mitigation, emergency evacuation, rebuilding of urban areas and rural settlements. In addition, they can participate in analyzing physical and environmental variables that contribute to the severity of disaster impacts. The study would inform future site planning strategies.

  • Landscape buffer and protection
  • Rebuilding of urban areas
  • Coastal settlements
  • Evacuation plan – integrated into site planning
  • Environmental analysis

3. Shoreline Strategies –

Working with scientists, planners and local communities, landscape architects can engage in the restoration of damaged shoreline and develop strategies and design to restore habitats and ecological functions, provide disaster mitigation, and address needs for local economic development.

  • Mangrove restoration
  • Sustainable aquaculture
  • Landscape buffer

4. Agriculture and Forestry

Agriculture and forestry should be part of the recovery efforts to restore both local economy and ecosystems. Landscape architects can work with local communities and scientists to restore farmlands and coastal forests damaged by the tsunami, including fields that are damaged by saltwater and debris.

5. Sustainable Infrastructure

Landscape architects can engage in building temporary and long-term ‘infrastructure’ to provide and store critical drinking water and ensure environmental and public health. The recovery effort provides an opportunity to consider issues of sustainability in local water supply and management and treatment of waste water.

  • Freshwater supply and management
  • Treatment of waste water

6. Sustainable and Emergency Building Practice

Landscape architects can work with builders, engineers and local communities to experiment with locally available alternative materials and techniques for building and site construction. The use of low-cost and renewable resources is important for both short-term recovery and long-term sustainable building practice.

  • Using local and alternative materials
  • Reuse and recycling of debris
  • “Community builders’ yard”

7. Community Rebuilding Program

Landscape architects can participate in the creation and operation of community rebuilding programs to ensure that economic, social and environmental aspects of recovery and reconstruction are effectively integrated in the above efforts. For example, restoration and reconstruction can be tied with job creation and local economic development, rather than simply subsidies. Furthermore, community process would ensure participation and contribute to capacity-building within the local communities.


L ARCH 474 Design Rescue, UW Department of Landscape Architecture, 2005