Integrating ecological perspectives into engineering practices – Perspectives and lessons from Japan

Naoya Furuta, Yukihiro Shimatani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This article focuses on how ecosystem-based approaches could be mainstreamed in recovery and reconstruction after large scale, rare and infrequent coastal hazards. In doing so, this study reviews historical practices of disaster management in rivers and coasts as well as reconstruction process after the Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE). It reveals how ecosystem approaches are integrated in river and coast works and highlights some of the relevant policies, technical guidance and guidelines and good practices on the ground. This study also documents how Eco-DRR policy evolved and implemented after the GEJE and addresses some of the challenges in its implementation. In order to draw additional insights, the reconstruction processes of Hurricane Sandy in the United States (US) was also reviewed as GEJE and Sandy shares some common features. Experience from Sandy suggests the importance of the participatory planning process rather than technical guidance or guidelines. Although it is too early to judge whether either reconstruction process was better or not, nor difficult to generalize the conclusion from only two samples, these two experiences suggest only technical guidance and guidelines is not sufficient to mainstream Eco-DRR/CCA in the reconstruction from large scale, rare and infrequent disasters. It is also suggested that the critical role of participatory planning process with cross-sector, cross-professional and interactive design approach may lead more innovative solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-94
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Safety Research
  • Geology


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