Recreational space for disaster refuge


In the reconstruction following the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, Tokyo incorporated a number of open spaces within the fabric of the city that served as recreational space for residents as well as acted as refuge spaces during disasters. This dual-use addressed the lack of refuge spaces within the city for people, an aspect that contributed significantly to the loss of over 140,000 lives during the earthquake and subsequent fires.

Building on this resourceful utilisation of open space, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to build 185 acres of 'refuge parks' by 2020. Besides adding to the city's green space, refuge parks will provide refuge and facilities to residents in the critical 72 hours following a disaster. Features include: solar-powered lampposts equipped with power outlets to charge mobile phones and electric bicycles; emergency toilets hidden under manhole covers; drinking water reservoirs; food stores; and cooking stoves incorporated into benches. The Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park, near the city’s harbour, would act as central information hub in the event of a major disaster such as an earthquake, with dedicated facilities to help coordinate disaster response efforts across the city.

Photo credit

Guillem Velhut via

Building block contributor

Siddharth Nadkarny, Arup


  • Kasai rinkai park   guilhem vellut  flickr


Organisations Involved