Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture

Degree Level





Billig, Noah

Committee Member/Reader

Sexton, Kim

Committee Member/Second Reader

Coffman, Jim


As climate change and population growth persist, and as the world rapidly urbanizes, major cities across the globe will face unprecedented strains. The risk of devastating impact from natural disasters increases in areas with a growing concentration of people. Megacities in Asia are the most at-risk of natural disasters, given their geographic location and high population density. With the highest projected population growth in the world, Asian cities must quickly expand and adapt their existing infrastructure to accommodate the transforming global conditions.

A remarkable anomaly amongst Asian megacities, Tokyo, Japan is effectively adapting to its earthquake-prone environment. Within the last century, Japan has implemented seismically reinforced buildings and educational resources for earthquake preparedness. Amongst other technological innovations, investments in railway transportation have permitted major cities like Tokyo to expand and adjust according to its changing needs. The Yamanote Line is the primary commuter rail line in Tokyo. Its antecedent originated in 1885 and has since undergone significant changes to evolve into the highly sophisticated system it is today.

By examining the evolvement of the Yamanote line from its conception and into the 21st century, this study explores the correlation between local rail transportation networks and their city’s resilience to natural disasters. A descriptive analysis aligned with four constructs of transportation resilience—robustness, redundancy, resourcefulness, and rapidity—observes instances in which the Yamanote line potentially strengthens Tokyo’s comprehensive disaster preparedness. The following study intentionally circumvents normative-prescriptive conclusions and focuses primarily on the impact of transformations of railway transportation on its broader urban context over time respective to disaster resilience and with consideration of other relative factors.


Transportation, Tokyo, Resilience, Urban, Architecture, Railway