WHAT IS THE role of urban architecture in a natural disaster? As Hurricane Katrina showed, buildings have few options—weather the storm or collapse. The drowning city has become a familiar and terrifying international reality: Witness not just Katrina and Rita but the recent floods in central Europe, the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, and even the floods that submerged Dresden and Prague in 2002. In the wake of such catastrophes, architects and urban planners are called on to anticipate emergencies and find solutions for reconstruction. The Buenos Aires–based architectural collective m7red, run by Mauricio Corbalán and Pio Torroja, takes a different approach. Instead of making plans for before or after the storm, they consider the very moment of disaster in a board game that lets players try their own hand at instant urban planning.
“We started working on the game in 2000 after some minor
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