Misato Uehara

Misato Uehara

Misato Uehara is a Japanese researcher of landscape and regional planning with doctorate in design. He is currently an Associate Professor of landscape architecture at Shinshu University.
He is interested in holistic environmental planning to overcome a conflict between development and natural protection.

Uehara’s most well know efforts were just after the Japanese Tsunami. The 2011 Tohoku Disaster brought a new and challenging theme to an area devastated by a large-scale natural disaster. Uehara’s work was focused on the importance of holistic reconstruction planning in Shinchi-town, Fukushima Prefecture. His study, funded by the Japan Scientific Research, used the McHarg’s planning process and 1980s’ Japanese ecological database for holistic land use planning. Shinchi-town chose the most suitable residential relocation sites from all of its land by citizen participation, whereas many other towns used surplus land of existing city plan for relocation sites. Uehara’s study proved that those sites in Shinchi-town are robust for not only tsunamis and earthquakes, but also other natural disasters. By using holistic planning process and citizen participation, this town had recouped its population to pre-2011 levels in 5 years while overall numbers for reconstructed region fell by 160,000. This success seems to prove that landscape initiatives are important for regional resilience in disaster reconstruction.