Disaster Humanities and Social Science Division
Regional Resilience Planning Lab
Associate Professor
Ph.D. (Regional Planning)

Research Subject(s)
Kanako Iuchi researches post-disaster planning approaches and processes to achieve resiliency. Current research themes cover recovery governance, community relocation, and spatial re-development. For the past five years, her research has primarily centered on coastal areas of disaster affected regions in Asia, including Aceh, Yogyakarta and Central Sulawesi, Indonesia (2004 tsunami, 2010 eruption, 2018 earthquake); Tohoku, Japan (2011 tsunami); Leyte, the Philippines (2013 typhoon); and Kathmandu, Nepal (2015 earthquake). She also explores New York, US (2012 hurricane) and Christchurch, NZ (2010 and 2011 earthquakes) to highlight differences in planning approaches among global North and South.
Key Words
Recovery planning / Recovery policies / Recovery governance / Post-disaster community relocation / Spatial redevelopment
Research Activities

Iuchi is conducting a longitudinal study of the rebuilding process of the Leyte region in the Philippines after the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda). Her interests are around coastal land use decisions by the city government, resettlement processes of informal communities, and multi-level governmental decision-making regarding levee construction to protect land and people from future disasters. From these perspectives, she examines social learning and engagement of different actors in recovery. She is interested in understanding the impact of time on managing recovery. 

Iuchi explores the socio-political and institutional factors affecting rebuilding decisions and processes of the local governments in the Tohoku region after the Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE) of 2011. She examines how the scale of damage, advisories from governmental agencies, lessons from the past, and the intra-relationship between the local government and communities, have affected local governments to choose specific policies to develop in the urban form over time. Exploring efforts on maximizing the use of reconstructed land is an emerging theme, as physical reconstruction is nearing to an end.  

Iuchi seeks to theorize post-disaster community relocation. Using knowledge and insights gathered from the past cases, as well as by following the progress of community relocation in the Central Sulawesi region after the 2018 earthquake, this project aims to identify the overarching rules and key propositions on community relocation for planners and policymakers. She additionally intends to examine good relocation governance, on ways in which local governments proceed community relocation with their people. The impact of unexpected pause (due to the outbreak of COVID-19) during reconstruction, is an emerging theme.

Selected Works

Iuchi, K. and Mutter, J. (2020). Governing community relocation after major disasters: An analysis of three different approaches and their outcomes in Asia. Progress in Disaster Science Journal. Volume 6, 100071. DOI:

Iuchi, K., Jibiki, Y., Solidum, R., Santiago, R. (2019). Natural Hazards Governance in the Philippines. Oxford encyclopedia of natural hazards governance. Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199389407.013.233

Santiago-Fandino, V., Sato, S., Maki, N., & Iuchi, K. (Eds.). (2018). The 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami: Reconstruction and restoration insights and assessment after 5 years. Switzerland: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-58691-5

Iuchi, K. and E. Maly. (2016). Residential Relocation Processes in Coastal Areas: Tacloban City after Typhoon Yolanda. Chapter 14 in: Sapat, A. and Esnard, A-M. (Eds.). Coming Home after Disaster: Multiple Dimensions of Housing Recovery. Routledge: CRC Press. Boca Raton, Fl. Pp. 209-226.

Iuchi, K. (2014). Planning resettlement after disasters. Journal of the American Planning Association, 80(4): 413-425.

Selected Memberships
  • American Association of Geographers
  • American Planning Association
  • Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
  • Institute of Social Safety Scienece
  • The City Plannnig Institute of Japan
Selected Awards
  • Case Study Awards. “Rhetoric of recovering resilient: Unveiling how building back safer transforms into development for prosperity (A case of post-Yolanda rebuilding)”, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and ACSP, 2018

Active in both practice and research, I have worked in the field of international development planning and disaster risk management for almost 25 years, specializing in disaster management planning, urban and regional planning, and community development. I focus on disaster research and advocating better rebuilding after disasters. Of particular interests are the policy impacts on communities and population overlooked in the policies for their inclusion. In my prior career as a planner with international agencies including the World Bank, I assisted local, regional, and national governments in the Global South, largely in Asia, on policy development related to disaster risk mitigation and recovery. I continue to engage in international development projects to pursue the model of scholar-in-practice. I hold a BS from Tsukuba University, an MRP from Cornell University, and a PhD from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in urban and regional planning.