For this year's grad project, Stephanie Koenig and I have partnered together to develop a system and design a strategy to better prepare Vancouver for shocks big or small. We have begun work with an interdisciplinary team of students from UBC to collaborate on a design challenge called the Resilient CommUnity Design Challenge organized through Engineers for a Sustainable World. We have met with community organizations to receive mentorship on sustainability and emergency response. Our goal is to develop solutions to improve access to resources, including water and power through small scale energy production and water filtration systems while facilitating conversations of emergency plans in the case of a natural disaster.
In our primary research, we were delighted to conduct a phone interview with Roisin Kenny who's dialog is featured in this video. Kenny was in Christchurch, New Zealand during the 2011 earthquake. Roisin emphasizes the critical details that she, only post-disaster, realizes should be considered in developing a personal emergency plan. She walks us through her mental and physical experience right after the earthquake hit, describing how her neighbourhood became unliveable. Homes were destroyed to the extent that there were no utilities for a few months after the quake. Roisin has us think about all that we take for granted. From her experience in this disaster, she realized the importance of developing a sound emergency plan with loved ones and neighbours to better prepare for the next major natural disaster. The aftermath became a prime opportunity for neighbourhood-scale problem solving and human connection that would unlikely have occurred in the earthquake’s absence.