Disaster Resilient Policy, Engineering and Design Certificate Program at North Carolina State University

Yui Omori

Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Disaster Resilient Policy, Engineering and Design Certificate Program

North Carolina State University

0.  Acknowledgement

I am writing to express my sincere gratitude for two-year financial support that I have received from the Ito Foundation U.S.A. I feel extremely fortunate to have been selected to receive a scholarship and your generous contribution has not only alleviated the financial burden of my tuition expenses but has also allowed me to focus wholeheartedly on my research and academic pursuits. Thank you again for your generosity and support.

1.  Independent Research

【Research Topic: Economic Analysis of Coastal Forest Loss and Landscape Transformation (Period: JAN (2023)- DEC 2024)】

I am collaborating with the professor from the faculty of Natural Resource to research “ghost forests,” which is standing dead trees triggered by increasing saltwater stress coupled with SLR. I joined the wetland laboratory (ARDÓN RESEARCH LAB) meeting to gain a better understanding of ecological transformation in coastal areas. The meetings are held on a weekly basis and revolve around discussions, requiring us to read a paper in advance. Sometimes it can be challenging for me to comprehend the papers since they are not directly related to my field of study. However, engaging in conversations with other faculty students provides me with a great opportunity to gain new insights and foster interdisciplinary collaboration in research.

Regarding my research topic, I have delved into Resist-Accept-Direct framework (RAD), which is a potential new approach in natural resource management. This framework is particularly relevant for the areas such as coastal forest maintenance, taking into account landscape transformations, including ghost forests (Schuurman et al 2022). Resist approach may have defence structures such as dykes and seawalls to protect coastal forests and keep historical and/or current condition. Accept is the trajectory by allowing ecosystems and little human encroachment. Direct is the approach of actively shaping new preferable conditions. However, still there is little information on how natural resource manager can decide which approach is suitable in different ecological conditions under the various scenarios of SLR. In addressing this issue, my objective is to clarify the cost-benefit ratio of each approach under different SLR scenarios. So I am implementing Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) that could help their decision-making. Once this research is completed, I intend to incorporate this experience into my PhD study, where I will explore the possibility of SLR-driven coastal landscape transformation in Japan. Additionally, I plan to integrate the natural recovery and ecological transformation following the 2011 tsunamis, as well as the potential future coastal landscape changes due to SLR.

Citation: Schuurman, G. W., Cole, D. N., Cravens, A. E., Covington, S., Crausbay, S. D., Hoffman, C. H., Lawrence, D. J., Magness, D. R., Morton, J. M., Nelson, E. A., and O’Malley, R. (2022). Navigating ecological transformation: Resist–accept–direct as a path to a new resource management paradigm. BioScience, 72(1), 16-29.
Site Visit to near Alligator River, North Carolina

2.  Studio Design Project

【Urban Design Studio: Shaw University Redevelopment (Period: JAN-MAY 2023)】

The mission of this studio is to redevelop Shaw University, the first educational institution for African- American communities in the Southern U.S. The Urban Design studio is addressing various socioeconomic issues including gentrification, urbanization and environmental concerns such as urban heat island effect, air pollution, and flooding. Through this project, I am exploring the concept of place making as a mean to address social equity, create spaces for the African-American community neighborhood, and acknowledge its history.

During the final review, many guests from local landscape architects and Shaw University faculty members came to visit our studio. Their valuable and helpful feedback provided guidance for advancing to the next phase, particularly on place-making and visual communication. It is encouraging to note that our proposal might be used in the ongoing Shaw University redevelopment project.

3.  Lecture

【Values, Theories and Methods of Landscape Architecture Practices】

This course consists of lectures, seminars and class discussions, providing us with opportunities to meet professional landscape architects from the various sectors. What caught me was there are many opportunities working as landscape architects in Department of Agriculture in US Forest Service (USFS), and they have a partnership with Departments of Defense (DOD), promoting collaboration among federal, private and local teamwork to support natural resource sustainability while also meeting military test and training needs. This realization made me reflect on the diverse roles that landscape architects and designers can play.

For our final project, students were organized into teams, acting as “firms,” and were tasked with preparing and delivering oral presentations to a “client” committee. I had the privilege of working with a partner, and together we were awarded the first prize for our efforts.

【Landscape Architecture Plant Identification I &Ⅱ】

This class is focusing on plant identification for landscape architecture students, specifically emphasizing the recognition of both ornamental and native plants. The purpose is to understand how these plants contribute to ecosystem services and enhance the aesthetics and functionality of built and restored landscapes.

Throughout the year, I learned about plant and trees’ characteristics through lecture and site visit. That allowed me to observe the seasonal growth and appearance of different plants and trees. Interesting fact is that even though they can be also observed in Japan, shape, growth speed have similarity and difference between North Carolina and Japan.

For the final assignment, students were required to document plant designs for their own studio project, In my case, I proposed the Shaw University plant design, which became a key concept of my emphasis on the campus design.

Overall, all the lectures are directly tied into studio projects. This integration always provides me with the opportunity to simultaneously apply the knowledge gained. Once again, I am sincerely grateful to have been chosen as a recipient of Ito Foundation U.S.A, and I would like to express my appreciation for allowing me to study at NCSU.