The Economy of Sustainable Construction: Proceedings of the Holcim Forum for Sustainable Construction 2013

283 282 establishing priorities. Most importantly, the community had to feel empowered to exert pressure on the authorities during implementation. All major changes in cities occur over a period of time that is much longer than the terms of political administrations. By being involved, residents can guarantee that the next administration implements the decisions and the ideas that were discussed. One critical question was how to best protect the city against future tsunamis. Three alternatives were aired. The first prohibited people from living in areas where the waves had destroyed the city. Politicians and the government preferred this solution because it was politically correct; they could say that they were going to protect people and not allow them to live in a dangerous area. However, we thought that this was unrealistic. Fishermen, in particular, would settle as close as possible to their livelihood, the river, and for the government to ignore this would result in poor living conditions. It would also make future tsunamis even more dangerous for them. The second alternative, building a big wall to protect the city, was preferred by companies in the business of heavy infrastructure. It was also marketed to the residents as convenient; it required no one to move, so, with a big wall protecting them, residents could reconstruct their homes on their original locations. The 2011 tsunami and earthquake in Japan, however, proved how defenseless a wall could be against the full force of nature. Our strategy was the opposite of the second. Instead of resisting the energy of nature, we would try to dissipate it: a geographical answer to a geographical threat. We proposed ↑ 1. The earthquake that hit Chile in 2010 and the tsunami that ensued almost completely destroyed Constitución, a city of around 46,000 inhabitants located directly on the Pacific coast.

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