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  • / field research
  • / system
  • / social design

The project was part of a master class at Design Academy Eindhoven.
Turkey is an area where earthquakes occur frequently due to the influence of the Eurasian Plate and the Anatolian Plate. However, there was a problem that it took a long time for the disaster victims to return to their daily lives after earthquakes because the idea of disaster prevention was not firmly rooted in the local people.
As a designer from Japan, which also suffers from frequent earthquakes, I went to Istanbul in 2018 to do field research to see what I could do to help.

Regardless of Turkey or Japan, it is generally said that 6 stages are gone through from the time when an earthquake happens until the people return to the same life as before. During the 3rd and 4th stages of evacuation and reconstruction, various relief supplies are delivered to the victims to help them survive, such as food and daily necessities, but when it comes to the subsequent stage of recovery of their mental health, there has been a lack of sufficient support in any country.

For example, during the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, fishermen were unable to go out to sea even after a certain amount of time had passed since the disaster, and the loss of their jobs and daily routines caused greater stress, making it difficult to maintain their mental health.

Therefore, a system to support work after the disaster that focuses on protecting not only the lives of the victims but also their mental health was decided to be designed. Since many people in Istanbul still make things by hand, more than 10 craftsmen were interviewed to find out what kind of products are in need after the earthquake.

As a result of the interview, I learned most of the people thought that they needed not only daily necessities but also proof that their lives had been there, such as family photos and memorabilia, and that they wanted to start working as soon as possible, which is their motivation in life, even after the disaster.

Furthermore, according to a lecture by Assist. Prof. Dr. Sevince Bayrak, who was researching earthquake architecture at MEF University in Istanbul, I learned that local people would evacuate to parks nearby after the earthquake since there is a risk that buildings would collapse, and that AFAD, which has 23 warehouses in Turkey, can deliver relief supplies within 2 hours no matter where the earthquake strikes, and cargo containers would be used for that purpose.

Based on these researches, I decided to use the existing system and redesign it as Work Salvage Bank.

Those who want to use the Work Salvage Bank can apply to AFAD before the disaster to receive an emergency kit. In the kit, they can put in items that they think they would need after an earthquake, such as family photos, memorabilia, and tools for their occupation, and send the kits back to the organization, where they will be stored in the warehouse until “that day” comes.

After the earthquake, the stored kits are delivered to the park where the disaster victims tend to evacuate to, and each person receives the kit they had prepared. The work tools in the kits, which would be used when the victims are getting used to the situation, will give them an opportunity to start working again and to pursue the purpose of their lives.

How many people will be possibly saved if this service is implemented in Gülhane Park, which is located near an area where many craftsmen are working?
Assuming an evacuation zone is within a 1km radius of the park, which is an approximately 13minutes-walking distance, 20,944 working people (as of 2018) would be saved by 16 shipping containers (40-foot) with a capacity of 1,232 emergency kits transported from AFAD-owned warehouse.

Each of us has our special memories and motivations for living. Rather than being frightened that our special memories will be destroyed by an earthquake that could happen anywhere at any time, we need to help people prepare for the day that will surely come. Furthermore, I believe that a system that can quickly protect not only the victims’ lives but also recover their works is necessary for future disaster prevention. I hope that this Work Salvage Bank will be a new disaster prevention system that can help people maintain their mental health under any difficult situations.

Special Thank You to:
Assist. Prof. Dr. Sevince Bayrak (Faculty of Arts Design and Architecture, MEF University)
Özgür Bulut Gümrükcü (for translating the interview)
Other Students from Faculty of Arts Design and Architecture (giving the information for the mapping)