Talk by a Leader of Disaster Design and Education in Japan
This Could Save Your Life: Creative Design & Disaster Preparedness
Thursday, February 23, 2017, 6:30 pm,
at Starr Foundation Hall, Parsons School of Design, New School
New York, NY – A few years after experiencing Kobe's Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (January 17, 1995) firsthand, and realizing that disasters could happen anytime to anyone again, Hirokazu Nagata became concerned with how to pass the lessons learned from the disaster on to the next generation. Since then he has become one of Japan's most active and respected leaders and innovators on disaster preparedness. As founder of a non-profit organization +arts (Plus Arts) in 2006 and the Vice Director of the Design Creative Center Kobe, Nagata works with designers, social innovators and architects over the world to craft thoughtful and creative design to create awareness and ready communities for disasters.
This Could Save Your Life: Creative Design & Disaster Preparedness introduces Nagata's broad body of work which includes preparing children through games and survival camps, collaborating with major corporations on disaster-ready products, and creating easy-to-use pocket survival manuals, multi-functional emergency shelters and other imaginatively designed products. Co-organized by the School of Constructed Environments (SCE) at The New School’s Parsons School of Design, and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP), the talk takes place Thursday, February 23, at 6:30 pm, and is followed by a mini-panel with New School faculty members and a reception. The lecture will be conducted in Japanese with consecutive translation in English.
In the wake of cataclysmic events such as Hurricane Sandy and the 9/11 terror attacks, Parsons SCE students and faculty members have developed a greater awareness of the need for disaster preparedness. Through its programs, projects, and curriculum, as well as technologically innovative buildings, interiors, lighting, and products, the school is committed to using socially and environmentally sustainable solutions to foster climate and infrastructural resilience.
This Could Save Your Life launches a year of activities and coursework related to disaster preparedness at The New School that will culminate in an exhibition at Parsons’ Sheila C. Johnson Design Center in 2018. 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.
Professor Nagata has made it his mission to leverage centuries of experience in Japan—a country historically rife with natural disasters from earthquakes and tsunamis, to typhoons, volcanic eruptions and floods—and to expound upon basic practical lessons from disasters in recent years. In an extensive profile from February 2016, he noted that open communication and engagement within one's community can be the most effective measure for disaster preparedness—more so than merely having an emergency pack, helmet or disaster kit on hand. "Disaster prevention measures can be found in everyday life, not in the case of emergency," he said.
In addition to planning and implementing survival skills camps for children, families and educators in regions prone to natural disasters, Nagata has worked with architects to develop creative emergency shelters, and has created pocket-sized disaster manuals for employees from gas companies, transportation and other public works industries. He has worked with high-concept design retailer MUJI on a product line of tools and goods for dedicated disaster "go bags." With AIG he created a plastic bag that can be used as a raincoat, sling, tarp, liner for a bucket, a bag, a toilet, and a cover. And he has designed a handkerchief that illustrates how it can be used for multiple purposes such as a mask, tourniquet, napkin, bandage, among other uses.
A native of Hyogo Prefecture, Hirokazu Nagata finished graduate school at Osaka University before he joined Takenaka Corporation, one of the largest architecture/construction companies in Japan, in 1993. He left Takenaka in 2001 and founded iop City Culture Creation Research Institute, a design and production company that is engaged in three fields: community development, architecture and art. In 2005, to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, Kobe City commissioned a project with Nagata to educate and reach out to communities about disaster awareness; this project is known as “Iza! Kaeru Caravan!” Soon after that, he established +arts (Plus Arts) in 2006. He has also been the Vice Director of the Design Creative Center Kobe (KIITO) since August 2012. Working with organizations like the Japan Foundation, JICA and Kobe City, Nagata has expanded his work beyond Japan to include over 20 countries all over the world, mainly in Southeast Asia and Latin America. Nagata is involved in the Earth Manual Project Exhibition, currently traveling in Thailand and set for its U.S. debut at Parsons School of Design in 2018.
The Japan Foundation was founded in 1972 with the mission to promote international cultural exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and other countries.
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.
Parsons School of Design is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines, as well as online courses, degree and certificate programs. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century.
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center is an award-winning campus center for Parsons School of Design that combines learning and public spaces with exhibition galleries to provide an important new downtown destination for art and design programming. The mission of the Center is to generate an active dialogue on the role of innovative art and design in responding to the contemporary world. Its programming encourages an interdisciplinary examination of possibility and process, linking the university to local and global debates. The center is named in honor of its primary benefactor, New School Trustee and Parsons Board of Governors Member Sheila C. Johnson. The design by Rice+Lipka Architects is the recipient of numerous awards, including an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects.
This Could Save Your Life: Creative Design & Disaster Preparedness takes place Thursday, February 23, at 6:30 pm. Starr Foundation Hall is located on the lower level of University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue, entrance is on Fifth Avenue on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 13th Street (accessible by the 4, 5, 6, N, Q, R, W, and L trains subway at The Union Square station, 14th Street). This is a free event and open to public, but RSVP is recommended. Please RSVP online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/t...
This event is co-organized with the School of Constructed Environments (SCE) at The New School’s Parsons School of Design, and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP). International transportation for this event is supported by All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. This event is made possible with the cooperation of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, Japan Society, AIG, Muji (Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd.) and Procter & Gamble.
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