Application Guidelines


Enter your ideas for year 2020 of Tohoku (North eastern Japan).
Choose one of the following five themes, your application please.

  • The disaster drew our attention to the importance of being prepared for tsunamis and earthquakes. Households, local communities, schools and governments must enhance their disaster measures. What kind of design solutions can help achieve this and strengthen bonds with one another and make residents and organisations supportive of each other in times of crisis? Can design help to communicate the lessons learned through the damage and experiences of this disaster to help Japan and the rest of the world to be better prepared in future?

  • Since the disaster, volunteers and specialists from all over the world have flocked to devastated areas and made tremendous contributions by operating shelters, removing rubble and transferring supplies. However, as the state of emergency is overcome, the more fundamental and long-lasting recovery involving local residents becomes essential. How can design encourage local, community-driven recovery? Is it possible to create ideas that will allow community members, from children to elders, to participate in the recovery process?

  • Employment is a vital factor for disaster victims in regaining independence and rebuilding their lives. A decrease in employment opportunities will lead to the younger generation moving out of the area. How can design help the recovery of the region’s industries of agriculture and fishing? Are there solutions that could boost tourism, bring back the worldwide customers, and allow the region’s city centres to flourish again?

  • The devastated areas are predominantly fishing and farming areas. The populations have been ageing and declining in number for a long time, and public and community support services have been struggling to meet their needs. With young people moving away, the problems will get worse. How can design improve the lives of elderly, lonely or disabled people by improving the support of medical and welfare services, or improving their integration and access to other city functions? Also, what can be designed to reach these populations with effective announcements and communication of local disaster prevention and recovery information?

  • Aside from the above four themes, local communities will be facing various challenges. From a mid-term perspective, thinking about the year 2020, what do you think is the most important issue and what design solutions could address it?

Eligible Designs

Subjects eligible for entry can be in any field, whether in product, service, system, policy, space, architecture, landscape, community, graphic, or information.


There is no fee to enter. Through two rounds of judges we will choose five winners. Each winner will receive 300,000 JPY as an earthquake recovery fund.
*The prize money will be provided to winners as a fund to realize the submitted design. For example as project fee, production fee, supporting fee for NPO and other communities, relief fund for devastated areas.

Selection Policy

Panel of judges are comprised of designers, researchers, local administrators and companies, NPOs and other specialists who are involved with devastated areas. The first round of judges will go through all submissions and evaluate based on the following criteria: (1) Contribution to the Devastated Area, (2) Feasibility, and (3) Creativity and Esthetics. In the final selection process, we will reflect both the selection from judges and the number of votes received from the general public

Time Schedule

Design Entry October 1 2011 – November 30 2011
1st Screening Early December 2011
1st Screening Selection Notice Mid-December 2011
Final Submission Early January 2012
Public Opinions and Polls Starts from early February 2012
Final Selection Process End of February 2012
Results Announcement March 2012

Submission Documents

To enter, please submit a PDF or PowerPoint document in landscape format, 4 pages long. Additionally, 4 pages can be attached as an appendix. We recommend using A4 size (297mm x 210mm) or Letter size (11in x 8.5in).

Application Format

You should write your application using the following specifications:

  • Page 1: Design Idea
    Describe the core idea (concept) of your design proposal.
    If necessary, complement the description with explanatory text or visuals.
  • Page 2: Issue
    Illustrate which medium or long-term challenges faced by the disaster area you focused on and intended to solve with the power of design.
    By “issue”, we refer to a problem, which needs to be solved in the recovery process moving towards the year 2021, in areas directly hit by the disaster. Data, examples, and real-life experiences and disaster victims’ stories can be added accordingly to support the selected issue.
  • Page 3 – 4: Explanation 1/Explanation 2
    Explain your design idea within 2 pages by using text and/or visuals such as charts, photos and illustrations.
  • Page 5 – 8: Appendix
    These 4 pages will be considered only as supplementary documents. Feel free to use these pages to describe any data, charts, drawings, or text that did not fit within the first 4 pages.

*Application format is limited to PDF or PowerPoint only.

*To make sure your document can be perfectly legible online, font size must be 20 points minimum.

*Uploaded file size limit 10MB.

*In order to maintain fairness of evaluation, do not put your name or affiliations on your application form.

For More Information

For general inquiry regarding application, contact


Please be noted that this project was organized in order to support recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. Therefore, all entries will be treated as creative commons and are subjected to become public through web and printed matters and be available particularly for the victims of the disaster.