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PREPHub . Neighborhood Infrastructure for Disaster Preparedness, 2016

Urban Risk Lab + HADR Lincoln Laboratory at MIT School of Architecture and Planning

In an era of rapidly increasing urbanization, it is becoming critical to develop new models of disaster-resilient infrastructures that are socially embedded, modular, and provide additional resources in case of emergencies. These "Emergency Preparedness Hubs," or PREPHubs, are both infrastructures and cultural objects. On an everyday basis, PREPHubs serve as interactive architectural structures that enliven parks and other public spaces; following a natural disaster, they are transformed into meeting and recovery sites for the distribution of goods and services needed during emergency scenarios.


PREPHubs are composed of critical lifeline modules to form a flexible kit, whose parts can be combined in different ways. Each component performs a dual function: engaging the community through sculptural furniture or interaction, and performing an emergency service following a natural disaster. For example, benches provide a cache of medical supplies, a neighborhood map illuminates evacuation routes, and a pedal-powered phone charger serves as a micro off-grid generator.

The Urban Risk Lab at MIT develops methods and technologies to embed risk reduction and preparedness into the design of cities, in order to increase the resilience of local communities. Operating at the intersection of ecology and infrastructure, the rural and the urban, research and action, the Urban Risk Lab is an interdisciplinary organization of researchers and designers. It addresses the complexities of seismic, climatic, and hydrologic risks in order to proactively embed preparedness and risk reduction in the rapidly urbanizing world. Team: David Moses, Saeko Nomura Baird, Aditya Barve, Alexa Jan, Jongwan Kwon, Justin Lavallee, Miho Mazereeuw, Ananya Nandy, Seungho Park, Abraham Quintero, Elizabeth Yarina. 

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