Authorization and levels of justice in recovery of gathering spaces after the great East Japan earthquake and tsunami 2011

Yegane Ghezelloo, Akihiko Hokugo, Elizabeth Maly, Yumi Shiomi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Public meeting spaces can enhance justice in communities by providing a suitable platform where all community members can attend events, meet others, and express themselves freely. Many homes and gathering spaces were destroyed by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, and as a result, important platforms where communities could gather had vanished. Even though different types of organizations restored gathering spaces, in terms of enhancing justice, the recovered spaces served the affected people differently. This study aims to identify how different aspects of justice (procedural, distributive, and interactional) vary in gathering spaces that were created through different authorizations. For this study, cases from communities in Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures of Japan were selected based on a process-oriented approach combined with literature review, field visits, semi-structured interviews, questionnaire surveys, and an evaluation of justice criteria in different cases. The research found that among the studied cases, different organizations targeted communities distinctively. According to the justice criteria evaluation, gathering spaces created by residents' associations and non-profit organizations had better results than those created by local governments. These communities were empowered to administer the spaces, which were provided with well-connected multiple gathering spaces and a balanced ratio of social, optional, and necessary gathering activities. In contrast, local governments offered centralized large-scale gathering spaces with minimum connections to other gathering spaces, spaces were combined with various functions and did not authorize community members to be involved in their administration. It was concluded that procedural justice is an important key, as it results in the empowered authorization and administration of communities, enhances distributive and interactional justice, and leads to increased freedom of choice. It also leads to consideration of multiple gathering spaces, evenly distributed in the recovered area, and maximizes the accessibility and useability of such spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100217
JournalProgress in Disaster Science
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan


  • Empowered communities
  • Evaluating justice
  • Gathering space recovery
  • Organizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Safety Research


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