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Survey Of World Architecture & Urbanism: Chinese Practice In Building Healthy Environment

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The consequences of global warming are becoming more serious now that the change of climate is visible. Within the decade, not only have different types of disasters been occurring, but they have been increasing in different parts of the world. Within thirteen months, two mega storms hit Hong Kong and Macau. Killer Typhoons Hato and Mangkhut created a lot of damage to society. However, the two cities were quickly able to recover and function as before, since citizens and different government departments participated in helping the city, demonstrating urban disaster resilience. Fast paced urbanization causes over population in one specific area, which could then result in an urban-centred disaster like the Sichuan earthquake. However, the term ‘resilience’ is distrusted by some scholars, since they think that it is not something that improves a city. Resilience can be viewed in different ways, but if we put other factors aside, it is defined as the ability of a party being able to bounce back after some kind of damage occurs. Even though different cities and people help after natural disasters, in the long term it is not the best solution. Instead of using the funds to recover, they should be invested in developing a system that could monitor and lower the damage when natural disasters occur. Many buildings collapse in an earthquake, showing there are chronic building conditions that has always been a problem in China.

On the 12 of May, 2008, a massive earthquake occurred in the central region of Sichuan province in south-western China, caused by the collision of the Indian-Australian and Eurasian plates. In this incident, countless building were damaged and collapsed. The term ‘Tofu buildings’ was introduced after the earthquake occurred in Sichuan during 2008, an economic boom was affecting the finance of the country, thus the materials that were used for constructions were poor, causing a lot of buildings and schools to collapse. Fast paced urbanization causes over population in one specific area, which could then result in an urban-centred disaster like the Sichuan earthquakeiv. Sichuan, being the second largest province in China, has a population of 87,250,000. The magnitude of the 8.0 quake caused around 90,000 people to be killed or go missing, 4,800,000 became homeless and $137.5 billion was spent on rebuilding houses and other infrastructures in the affected areas. Located in the southwest China, Sichuan Province is not only famous for its historical geographical feature, but also for its cultural geographical features. It is an important origin of Chinese civilization. There was a lot of developments and advanced growth happening throughout the years. However, after the disaster occurred, it turned into a zone full of concrete pieces. As the deadly earthquake happened suddenly in the day, none of the citizen were able to be prepared to see this disaster from happening. Students were in class at school, workers were in the office, housewives were staying at home, everyone was doing things that they will be doing on a daily basis. Suddenly, the earthquake happened before people were able realises the situation, buildings were already collapsing.

After the disaster, China’s government took immediate action and quick responses to start rescuing people who were being trapped. The government utilized 13,000 soldiers and staffs from other government departments to the affected zone and started rescuing actions. Within the weeks after the earthquake happened, there were around 200,000 volunteers active in saving lives, people from all around the world also donated money, time, food, water and supplies to the damaged area. One of the saddest video on the internet, an interview conducted 10 years later of the children who survived the earthquake. The youngest girl being 9 years old who had no memories of the earthquake, only knowing that her elder brother, sister and mother all died in the disaster. Most of the interviewees were teenagers, when the earthquake happened back in 2008, they were only kids, the scene still never left their mind, everyone are still traumatized, worrying about other massive earthquake occurring. However, in their mind, not only they remember the horrifying scene of the disaster happening, but also the experience after.

Some were trapped and waiting to be rescued, somewhere lost and some were shock, many of them remember the scene of being rescued, they also mentions that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were being very spontaneously, everyone lost everything that they have. People were all starving and exhausted, the PLA not only continued working very hard, hoping to save more people, they also gave whatever that was left with them to the children and other people in needed.vii In the end, looking at the scale of damage that a typhoon causes and earthquake causes is drastic. For Typhoon Mangkhut, Hong Kong Observatory and the government have already let Hong Kong citizen to know about the situation in advance, letting them know what they have to do, for example getting enough food and water before the typhoon launches, putting tapes on the window to prevent it from breaking and parking cars to save place with shelter. On the other hand, the 8.0 earthquake hit Sichuan in a situation where no one could predict it, thus, not only citizens cannot be prepared, they are all under shock and panic. Even though natural disaster breaks home and damages cities, but it makes the bonding of the society stronger.


  1. Briney, Amanda. “10 Things You Did Not Know about China’s Sichuan Province.” ThoughtCo. Accessed October 3, 2018.
  2. Hu, Yueh-Gin Gung, Charles Y. Hu, and Robert Lee Suettinger. “Sichuan.” Encyclopædia Britannica. December 04, 2017. Accessed September 30, 2018.
  3. Sichuan. “People’s Government of Sichuan Province.” Government of Sichuan Province. Accessed October 01, 2018.
  4. Rafferty, John P., and Kenneth Pletcher. “Sichuan Earthquake of 2008.” Encyclopædia Britannica. May 05, 2018. Accessed October 01, 2018.
  5. Sanderson, David, Jerold S. Kayden, and Julia Leis. Urban Disaster Resilience: New Dimensions from International Practice in the Built Environment. New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, 2016.

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