Public Open Space as Emergency Shelter – China

Open Space as Emergency Shelter in China (Yuan Capital Wall Park, Beijing)

China has a history of using public open space as emergency shelters. These parks provide independent infrastructure and services such as water, sanitation and electricity. Citys such as Beijing have dozens of shelters all across the city that can provide tenting areas, fresh water and medical attention. The shelters are designed for the public in case of earthquakes, epidemic diseases, flooding, fire and other situations.

Civil emergencies are inevitable events. Landscape architects through planning and design can prepare cities for times of disaster. Approaching planning and design of open space as emergency refuge is an established field in China and Japan. Analyses of these spaces can inform the planning and design of open public space in other cities and communities around the world. Improving access and awareness of ‘safe’ open space with installation of independent infrastructure and supplies at key locations as well as ground improvement techniques enables effective response to emergency events. This aims to improve function and efficiency during the phases of emergency events, ultimately resulting in the saving of human life and alleviation of suffering.

I feel there is opportunity for landscape architects to familiarise with the phases of disaster events and their relationship to open space.

Text by: Ryan James Aldrich

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