8 Ways to Save New OrleansIn 2005, while New Orleans struggled to recover from hurricane Katrina, architects and other experts proposed ways to help and protect the flood-prone city. Much progress has been made, but the hard work continues.
1.Restore the HistoryThe flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina spared the most famous historic neighborhoods: the French Quarter, the Garden District, and the Warehouse District. But other areas of historic importance were damaged. Preservationists are working to assure that valuable landmarks are not bulldozed.
2. Look Beyond the Tourist CentersMost architects and city planners agree that we should preserve historic buildings in upscale neighborhoods and popular tourist areas. However, most of the damage took place in lowland regions where impoverished Creole blacks and "Anglo" African Americans settled. Some planners and social scientists argue that true reconstruction of the City will require restoring not just buildings but social networks: schools, shops, churches, playgrounds, and other places where people gather and form relationships.
- Recovering New Orleans, article by Thomas J. Campanella, co-author of The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover From Disaster (compare prices)
3. Provide Efficient Public TransportationAccording to many urban planners, the secret to making cities work is a speedy, efficient, clean transportation system. In their view, New Orleans needs a network of bus corridors that will connect neighborhoods, encourage business, and stimulate a diverse economy. Automobile traffic can channeled around the rim of the city, making the interior neighborhoods more pedestrian-friendly. Newsday writer Justin Davidson suggests Curitiba, Brazil as a model for this type of city.
4. Stimulate the EconomyNew Orleans is riddled with poverty. Many economists and political thinkers say that reconstructing the buildings is not enough if we don't address the social problems. These thinkers believe that New Orleans needs tax breaks and other financial incentives to stimulate business.
5. Find Solutions in Vernacular ArchitectureAs we rebuild New Orleans, it will be important to construct homes that are suited to the soggy ground and humid climate. The so-called "shacks" in New Orleans' blighted neighborhoods should not be underestimated. Constructed by local craftsmen in the 19th century, these simple wooden homes can teach us valuable lessons about weather-ready building design. Instead of heavy mortar or bricks, the homes were made with insect-resistant cypress, cedar, and virgin pine. The lightweight frame construction meant that the houses could be elevated on brick or stone piers. Air could easily circulate beneath the homes and through the open, high-ceilinged rooms, which slowed the growth of mold.
6. Find Solutions in NatureAn innovative new science called Biomimicry recommends that builders and designers observe forests, butterflies, and other living things for clues on how to construct buildings that will withstand storms.
7. Choose a Different LocationSome people say that we should not attempt to reconstruct the flooded neighborhoods of New Orleans. Because these neighborhoods lie below sea level, they will always be at risk for more flooding. Poverty and crime were concentrated in these low-lying neighborhoods. So, according to some critics and government officials, the new New Orleans should be constructed in a different location, and in a different way.
- Thoughts On Rebuilding (And Not Rebuilding) New Orleans, Planetizen
- Should We Rebuild New Orleans?, About US Politics