FROM DEVELOPMENT TO

ADAPTMENT

DESIGNING CITIES
ADAPTED TO
CLIMATE CHANGE

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LIVES
AROUND THE WORLD
ARE
THREATENED
BY CLIMATE CHANGE

01 WE NEED TO ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE

OUR DAMAGED ECOSYSTEMS

NATURAL DISASTERS ARE RISING AROUND THE WORLD

In recent years, the Earth’s climate has changed drastically, with torrential rains, heat waves, and droughts that are historically unprecedented, causing disasters every year that threaten daily lives around the world.

At this very moment, somewhere in the world, people have been deprived of their living environment by natural disasters.

CAN CONVENTIONAL URBAN
DEVELOPMENT
ADAPT TO CHANGE?

Until now, humanity has developed cities and civilizations in order to enjoy affluent living.
In the process, ecosystems have been severely damaged, and the effects of climate change are increasing with each passing year. In many cases, urban development is also the cause of disasters, such as flooding due to reduced water retention.

If we look at the growing annual damage caused by natural disasters in cities, it is clear that conventional urban development cannot adapt to this new climate change. We should rethink adaptive urban development for the future.

BRINGING ADAPTATION WISDOM FROM
DISASTER-PRONE JAPAN TO THE WORLD

Japan is an island nation located between continental plates. With 70% of its land covered by mountains, it is exposed to natural disasters every year, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, volcanic eruptions, and typhoons; some may remember the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011.
Living in such a harsh environment, Japanese people have developed the wisdom to adapt flexibly to disasters while working in harmony with nature since ancient times.

Combining this traditional knowledge with the latest technology has led to innovations for adapting to climate change.
This wisdom of adapting to nature that Japan has cultivated throughout its long history can now benefit the world.

UNTIL THE 20TH CENTURY, CITIES WERE
NOT DESIGNED FOR CLIMATE CHANGE

Cities will not be able to adapt to climate change if we continue to design them as we have in the past; this is inevitable because climate change was not an issue during this period.
As we have entered a new era of climate for the first time in thousands of years, the transition to this climate and its impacts will only accelerate.
Herein lies our new challenge to rebuild cities resiliently and more harmoniously with nature to develop adaptive cities. We should move quickly to make these positive changes a reality in our time.

A NEW URBAN DEVELOPMENT CONCEPT
THAT ADAPTS TO CLIMATE CHANGE

If urban development follows the same methods developed countries have used thus far, it may lead to an unsustainable and regrettable future.

As the adverse effects of climate change threaten the livelihoods of people in both developed and developing countries, we must work together to create a sustainable society.
This requires protecting people’s lives, safety, and local culture from the climate crisis through resilient urban development and design.

WHAT IS A RESILIENT CITY
THAT PROTECTS PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES
FROM THE DANGERS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
AND DISASTERS?

THROUGH JAPAN’S
DEVELOPMENT CONCEPT,
WE SHOULD ADAPT CITIES
TO CLIMATE CHANGE

ADAPTMENT

ADAPTMENT DESIGNING CITIES ADAPTED TO CLIMATE CHANGE

02 URBAN DEVELOPMENT ADAPTED TO ECOSYSTEMS

WHAT IS ADAPTMENT?

THINKING IN TERMS OF WATERSHEDS, AN ECOLOGICAL UNIT

ADAPTMENT is a new design concept that rethinks conventional development to make it more adaptive to the global environment.

Adapting to the environment requires affirming people's livelihoods within our ecosystems and adjusting their relationships accordingly. However, the way urban planning is practiced today is not well adapted to the ecosystem.

ADAPTMENT rethinks urban development in terms of watersheds, a key component of ecosystems, and compares cities to a single living organism that can achieve resilient urban development adapted to climate change.

A watershed, an aspect of the natural water system that spans from land, to rivers, to the sea, is the basic component of an ecosystem. Natural disasters such as floods, droughts, and landslides, as well as natural damage like rocky-shore denudation, oak wilt disease, and loss of biodiversity, occur at the watershed level.

Illustration source: 「川だけ地形地図」Topographic Map of Rivers Only
Published on May 27, 2014©gridscapes.net (https://www.gridscapes.net/AllRivers)

WHY DO DISASTERS ARISE IN OUR CITIES?

ADAPTATION OCCURS AT THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN NATURE AND MAN

Until now, urban development has tried to insert the human living environment into the natural environment, as if to interrupt its circulation with a grid, without regard for watersheds as a fundamental component.
As a result, various conflicts have arisen at the boundary between the human urban environment and the natural environment, which have struck us as disasters.

In essence, human life should be a part of the natural ecosystem. For hundreds of years, Japan has developed wisdom for living in harmony with the natural ecosystem. This includes forest conservation techniques that use mountains as buffer zones to protect living spaces from natural disasters such as floods, tsunamis, and high tides, as well as forest development techniques such as using disaster-preventing forests in coastal areas.

Treating disasters that occur at the interface between the natural and human environments merely as local problems can weaken the inherent resilience of the ecosystem as a whole. Development that ignores the integrity of ecosystems can lead to vulnerabilities in urban space, just as a concrete retaining wall can lead to new landslides.

ADAPTMENT redesigns the boundary between living spaces and nature to be in harmony with the watershed ecosystem. It maximizes the stable ecological systems inherent in nature while seeking to restore ecological systems lost to conventional development.
The adaptation approach we propose seeks to protect humanity from unprecedented climate change while reducing the environmental impacts of conventional urban development and helping to create new industries in an era of climate change.

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT DISASTERS Boundary Non-Resilient HUMAN LIVING ENVIRONMENT NATURAL ENVIRONMENT ADAPTMENT Resilient HUMAN LIVING ENVIRONMENT Developed with ADAPTMENT

TOWARDS A NEW RELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN HUMANS AND NATURE
AMIDST CLIMATE CHANGE

We are actively interested in supporting positive actions by adopting ADAPTMENT, a new development concept adapted to climate change.
We hope that sustainable development will help create a new relationship between people and nature in the era of climate change.

From the ADAPTMENT project founder
EISUKE TACHIKAWA

03 LEARNING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION MEASURES FROM THE ADAPTIVE EVOLUTION OF ORGANISMS

HOW IS ADAPTMENT STRUCTURED?

A COMPARISON TO THE BODY & BEHAVIOR OF ORGANISMS THAT EVOLVED TO ADAPT TO THEIR ENVIRONMENT

The bodies of organisms that have evolved to adapt to their environment help illustrate the structure of adaptive development.

Adaptation to climate change is a crucial issue that humanity must address in order to sustainably develop civilized societies.

There is an international consensus that measures to address climate change can be divided into two categories: mitigation and adaptation measures.
Mitigation measures aim to prevent global warming. They are very simple in their approach, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or preserving and enhancing the absorptive capacity of forests and other areas.
Adaptation measures, on the other hand, tend to be harder to understand, as they aim to manage the effects of climate change. They are complex and intertwined with various issues (such as disaster prevention, resource management, agriculture, poverty, food, or security) and have diverse approaches, making it difficult to grasp the whole picture.

ADAPTMENT looks to the physical structure and behavioral principles of living organisms to model climate change adaptation in easily understandable ways. This is because the bodies of living organisms have evolved to adapt to changes in the environment, making them our most accessible references.

THE ADAPTIVE EVOLUTION
OF THE BODY AND BEHAVIOR

When we examine the concepts behind adaptive measures that make cities more resilient, we find that their structure mimics the evolution of the human body and behavior. ADAPTMENT divides these into two categories: adaptive evolution of the body and adaptive evolution of behavior.
The cities in which we live are exposed to major environmental shifts such as climate change; it is increasingly imperative to consider development design for adaptive cities from the perspective of the resilient mechanisms found in organisms’ bodies and behaviors.

THE STRUCTURE OF ADAPTATIVE EVOLUTION

THE ADAPTIVE EVOLUTION
OF THE BODY

We can consider the adaptive evolution of the urban environment, architecture, and civil engineering as the hardware or infrastructure that protects our lives.
Under the ADAPTMENT concept of the adaptive evolution of the body, we consider the structure of a flexible city that adapts to its environment by referring to the body structure of living organisms, through components such as the perceptivity of nerves, the redundancy of fat, the flexibility of muscles, the cyclicity of blood vessels, the robustness of bones, and the recoverability of cells.

LAYERS OF THE SKIN ABILITIES TO ADAPT BODY ADAPTATION

THE ADAPTIVE EVOLUTION OF THE URBAN BODY

BODY ADAPTATION

THE STRUCTURE OF ADAPTATIVE EVOLUTION

THE ADAPTIVE EVOLUTION
OF THE BEHAVIOR

Let’s consider the adaptive evolution of the urban environment (including civic behavior and disaster preparedness/communities within this culture) as a kind of “software.”
The ADAPTMENT concept of adaptive evolution of behavior takes cues from the observability, memorability, predictability, mobility, and cooperativity of organisms to help learn how to create a flexible culture tailored to each particular place.

SCALE-FREE NETWORK BEHAVIOR ADAPTATION
ADAPTIVE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR

BEHAVIOR ADAPTATION

04 CATEGORIZING CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION
MEASURES

WHERE CAN ADAPTMENT BE APPLIED?

COMPREHENSIVELY UPDATING ENVIRONMENTAL CATEGORIES OF CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION MEASURES

Climate change adaptation measures raised by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and other reports are divided into four categories: land, sea, river, and humans, which is the current international standard.

However, ecosystems such as land, sea, river, and cities where people live have interactive relationships, so it is impossible to discuss them in isolation. Based on discussions with disaster experts and others, we have restructured this classification to define disasters that threaten urban life as problems that occur at the interface between people and nature.

ADAPTMENT INTEGRATES AND UPDATES EXISTING ENVIRONMENTAL CATEGORIES
OF CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION MEASURES

TERRESTRIAL HUMAN SEA RIVER Environment TERRESTRIAL HUMAN SEA RIVER Environment BODY BEHAVIOR

NEW URBAN DEVELOPMENT INTRODUCED BY ADAPTMENT

TERRESTRIAL ADAPTMENT

ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN PERI-URBAN LANDSCAPES LIKE MOUNTAINS, FORESTS, AND FARMLAND

ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN PERI-URBAN LANDSCAPES LIKE MOUNTAINS, FORESTS, AND FARMLAND

CURRENT DEVELOPMENT

FROM AN UNCONSIDERED SOIL ECOSYSTEM

Up until now, urban development rarely considered the water retention capacity of the soil and the soil ecosystem of an entire region; this development has sometimes created new disasters afterward.

BEFORE

FUTURE WITH ADAPTMENT

TO A COHESIVE WATERSHED ECOSYSTEM

ADAPTMENT seeks to preserve and restore ecological connectivity by developing land that treats water retention and the ecosystem as a cohesive watershed from the beginning of the planning process.

AFTER

NEW URBAN DEVELOPMENT INTRODUCED BY ADAPTMENT

RIVER ADAPTMENT

ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE, INCLUDING FLOODING IN RIVER BASINS AND FRAGMENTATION AT THE RIVER-HUMAN BOUNDARY

ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE, INCLUDING FLOODING IN RIVER BASINS AND FRAGMENTATION AT THE RIVER-HUMAN BOUNDARY

CURRENT DEVELOPMENT

FROM INEFFECTIVE FLOOD CONTROL MEASURES

Up until now, most conventional flood control measures for rivers are designed to prevent water from overflowing by lining the river with solid concrete, which becomes less effective or can even cause outright damage when the water exceeds a certain level.

BEFORE

FUTURE WITH ADAPTMENT

TO RESILIENT RIVER DISASTER PREVENTION

ADAPTMENT sees rivers as an outlet for improved water retention throughout a region. This approach also provides resilient river disaster prevention by emphasizing ecological connectivity and using flood control measures that make the most of nature.

AFTER

NEW URBAN DEVELOPMENT INTRODUCED BY ADAPTMENT

SEA ADAPTMENT

ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE TO PROTECT PEOPLE FROM STORM SURGES AND TSUNAMIS, AND TO CONNECT WITH MARINE ECOSYSTEMS

ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE TO PROTECT PEOPLE FROM STORM SURGES AND TSUNAMIS, AND TO CONNECT WITH MARINE ECOSYSTEMS

CURRENT DEVELOPMENT

FROM AN UNSUSTAINABLE EXPLOITATION

Up until now, the exploitation of marine resources has not sufficiently managed the amount of fish caught based on expectations of resource recovery. In addition, coastal seawalls have suffered ecological damage, with rocky-shore denudation caused by land reclamation without regard to ecological connectivity.

BEFORE

FUTURE WITH ADAPTMENT

TO THE CONSERVATION OF MARINE RESOURCES

ADAPTMENT emphasizes the preservation of wildlife sanctuaries as buffer zones, tidal flats, and coastal forests that act as intermediaries between people and the marine environment, ensuring the long-term conservation of resources essential to a sustainable city and a harmonious coexistence with nature in the future.

AFTER

NEW URBAN DEVELOPMENT INTRODUCED BY ADAPTMENT

HUMAN ADAPTMENT

ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE THAT SOFTENS THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN MAN AND NATURE, RATHER THAN SIMPLY ROBUST URBAN DEVELOPMENT

ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE THAT SOFTENS THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN MAN AND NATURE, RATHER THAN SIMPLY ROBUST URBAN DEVELOPMENT

CURRENT DEVELOPMENT

FROM FRAGILE URBAN STRUCTURES

Up until now, urban development has primarily been based on protecting the interior from damage by building robust external layers such as walls and breakwaters. However, these structures are sometimes fragile, and there are many cases where they collapse catastrophically at a certain point in time or have to be dismantled when they reach the end of their useful life.

BEFORE

FUTURE WITH ADAPTMENT

TO FLEXIBLE AND RESILIENT STRUCTURES

ADAPTMENT focuses on structural resilience, an approach that creates a flexible and resilient framework on the outside of a robust structure. This is similar to how the body prevents damage by surrounding bones with muscle, fat, and skin.

AFTER

ABOUT
OUR TEAM

DESIGNING CITIES ADAPTED TO CHANGE ADAPTMENT DESIGNING CITIES ADAPTED TO CHANGE ADAPTMENT