Reviews on “Progresses of Earthquake Engineering in Japan”
Tokyo Institute of Technology
It seems that when human beings attain one thing, it is at the simultaneous loss of something else. Upon developing recording devices, we lose our ability to memorize. Upon creating convenient computers, we lose our ability to calculate. What, then, do progress and development really mean? In considering this, time spans become especially important.
How are we to properly understand the progress and changes that have occurred in the last 3 decades in light of disaster prevention and reduction? Advances in communication technologies and developments in transportation system seem somehow to have accelerated the speed at which we live and at which our lives pass. How are we to balance the changes between progress in disaster prevention/reduction and the increasing potential risks disasters can bring due to our increasingly complex society? It seems certain that one thing has not advanced at all – the human capacity for foresight.
Let us consider the span of 3 decades from another perspective: Henry Petroski, in his Design Paradigms – Case Histories of Error and Judgment in Engineering – (Cambridge University Press, 1994), introduces the theory that every 30 years, a bridge falls – within the span of 30 years, succession in wisdom dies out.
Articles published more than 30 years ago give us a unique opportunity to assess their foresight, especially those written by persons in leadership positions at the time.
In the 3 years from 1973 to 1975, the journal Technocrat, published by Fuji Technology Press Ltd., presented 9 review articles on earthquake disaster prevention. They were all written by leaders in the field. An editorial reviewing urban disaster prevention in Japan was also published in Toshi bousai keikakuron (Urban Disaster Prevention Planning) (Dobunshoin) in 1986 – roughly a decade later.
These 10 articles will be republished in Vol. 1 Nos. 1-3 in this journal, together with new articles reviewing progress and development afterward. This unique series will consist of 18 articles as shown in the following list. Don’t miss it!
Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology