Resilient Reconstruction from the Urban Design Point of View, After 2003 Bam Earthquake*

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate Professor, Department of Post-Disaster Reconstruction, Shahid Beheshti University (SBU), Terhan, Iran

2 M.S. , Department of Post-Disaster Reconstruction, Shahid Beheshti University (SBU), Terhan, Iran. (Received 18 Jul 2013, Accepted 24 Nov 2013)


Earthquakes have been affected the human life since the dawn of time; however, the complexities of human societies and communications in the cities, intensify the deleterious effects of the earthquakes, that affect urban areas. Hence, in emergency phase and reconstruction, attention to the basic needs and shelter provision are the most important activities but urban design also play an important role in restoration and improving the condition of damaged city, and also prepare for the future probable earthquakes by mitigating the vulnerabilities. Iran is an earthquake-prone country and has experienced a number of devastating earthquakes; however, reconstruction in urban areas were less experienced. After the Bam catastrophic earthquake (2003), the reconstruction program of the city was developed based on “Bam Sustainable Manifesto”. Three major criteria where considered in the program as “identity, participation and sustainability”. However little attention was given to these criteria in implementation of the reconstruction activities in Bam, after the catastrophe. In this paper, the correlation between the concepts of resilience, resilience urban design and resilience urban disaster reconstruction, are drawn. Field study particularly focuses on Bam city and selected areas, considering urban identity and legibility also eliminate city scape and image disturbances, examining development of green multi-functional open spaces in residential neighborhoods; Likewise physical retrofitting and vulnerability of streetscape against probable seismic disorders. The methodology is based on a qualitative approach associated with analytic methods and in-depth interviews with Bam citizens and authorities. Based on the “Bam reconstruction program”, the paper examines the effectiveness of urban identity and sustainability through resiliency in the post earthquake reconstruction. In this regards, to obtain information for qualitative analysis and examinations, considering the situation of Bam, the following methods are used: 1- A review of bibliographical sources and documents, consonant with Bam condition as an ancient city and extensive destruction happened after 2003 earthquake. 2- The undertaking of in-depth interviews with authorities whom involved in the reconstruction process and also Bam citizens. 3- Conduct of a field survey, and 4- Direct personal observations. It should be born in mind that in the case of resiliency, reconstruction and urban design have shared qualities that result in a framework for resilient reconstruction after disaster in urban areas. The findings show that, those qualities have differentiated due to the condition of the survey locations. In the case of Bam, the main and important criteria that must consider are: 1) preparedness and steps toward means of increasing resilient in reconstruction; also 2) to consider some qualities in the reconstruction phase from the urban design point of view, in order to reach resiliency, such as developing green multi-functional open spaces in residential neighborhoods, considering diversity and variability of urban spaces and also accessibility in the city; 3) trying to achieve objectives of resilient reconstruction approach by applying methods for rapid recovery, coping capacity, mitigating physical vulnerability by retrofitting, remarking urban identity and above all, turning the threats of earthquake into opportunities in order to increase urban resilience against future disasters and improving the living conditions of residents.


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