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Thread: When it's time to rebuild The Big Easy...

  1. #1
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    When it's time to rebuild The Big Easy...

    I hope this opportunity is not wasted by Bush. I hope he aks us to make sacrifices rather than give us tax cuts; I hope urban planners and designers are brought in to rethink the city, to address structural racism, poverty and class; I hope politics is left out...

    A thought, how about Habitat for Humanity and some urban planners rethinking public housing- it'll be needed now and the foreseeable future (ie when we are without poverty).

    This trajedy has physicaly, concretely illustrated for America, what institional and structural racism and 'classism' is and what its consequences are.

    Prayers, blessings, thoughts for everyone on the gulf coast affected by this disaster natural and man made (government in-action).

    ps to the media "Enough about reinquist, god bless, back to the disaster relief!!!"

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    There will be many opportunities for strong, willing-to-work, men and women. Clean-up, repair, new construction.....it will all be happening, on a huge scale. People that I know that went to central Florida last autumn are getting ready to head for the Gulf Coast this year. They are involved in construction work.

    It will be interesting to watch the political interplay during the planning and re-building.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    This is an interesting compare and contrast.

    "Both cities were destroyed. Both cities had to face an uncertain future. San Francisco recovered and became the city it is today. The story of New Orleans is yet to be written.

    New Orleans in 2005 was about the same size as San Francisco in 1906 -- 484,000 people lived in modern New Orleans, about 450,000 in the San Francisco of a century ago."


    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...NGU1EI6VC1.DTL

  4. #4
    Cyburbian thinknik's avatar
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    FEMA: Mitigation Buy Outs

    Here is link to a FEMA flood mitigation case study for anyone interested in going further on this topic:

    http://www.fema.gov/txt/fima/mo_buyoutreport.txt

  5. #5
    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    San Francisco recovered and became the city it is today. The story of New Orleans is yet to be written.
    The difference is that when San Francisco was destroyed, we were still building "great cities." How does one rebuild New Orleans' extensive collection of shotguns, camelbacks, and other local vernacular architecture? The smartass answer there is "very expensively." Developers largely aren't building them, and the pittance of insurance payouts won't come close to the task. (Your typical shotgun in New Orleans is worth $40k-- it's modern equivelent would be covered in vinyl siding.) I fear the most ravaged neighborhoods, Treme, Mid-City, and most of East New Orleans, will be rebuilt as a sea of tract homes-- it'll be suburban Houston in cheap Mardi Gras colors. Because how can it not be? The French Quarter and Garden District will come out of the hurricane largely unharmed. The poorer remainder of the city, parts no less historic but certainly less prized for their history, will be rebuilt as a utilitarian collection of neighborhoods with all the modern amenities of off-street parking and extra turning lanes. There just isn't the money there to restore New Orleans. It will be built anew as a city of 2005 with all the cultural trappings of your average subdivision.

    San Francisco became the city it was because of the rapid rebuild in 1906-- an era when people still talked to their neighbors and nobody owned a car. In 21st century New Orleans, most residents are overweight, it's unsafe to walk the streets at night in most of the city, the population has been declining for a while now (unlike SF prior to 1906) and there are very little tax funds for services such as public transit. As much as I'd like to think otherwise--barring any kind of massive social, political, or economic upheaval--the rebuild will reflect these social conditions.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    First things first... The levees must be rebuilt, otherwise, it's quite unlikely that people can rebuild, unless they want to do a copy of the typical architecture in Chiloe, with houses on pillars above the high tide floodwaters, but when there's low tide they're above ground (this case is exceptional, since the tides in Chiloe vary up to 30 ft)

    I'm guessing that for all that water to forcibly drain outwards, it'll be a couple of months, since pumping out without levees is ridiculous.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    Here's an article from Newsweek about possible futures for N.O. The author takes a historical perspective, quotes Lewis Mumford, and looks at the socioeconomic strata of the city.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  8. #8
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Good thread! I agree that I too hope that they bring in urban planners and a wide rage of individuals to rebuild the City. I think that extensive efforts should be made to preserve and rehabilitate the French Quarter. From what I hear, it suffered the least amount of damage. I also think that something should be done in the areas that where significantly lower than the other locations to raise them up and bring in fill to reduce the potential flooding. I also think that many of the surround areas should be returned to wetland area. Part of the problem when it flooded was that historically the water has had a wetland area to drain to.

    I also think that in all the areas all the utilities should be placed underground, close off areas to vehicle traffic, and reconstruct things to a better standard while using historic materials such as brick and cobble for streets.

    Personally, I donít think that Bush is going to have much if any influence in the design of New Orleans, or any of the other places. He will be able to help to provide redevelopment funding but his role would be limited. Many of us work for a government agency. When a project happens in our communities, the Governor may not even know about it.
    If you're not growing, you're dying. - Lou Holtz

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    One thing that has been alluded to, but not discussed directly, is the comparative cost of rent or ownership before and after rebuilding. New Orleans had a large supply of inexpensive homes and low lease rates on both residential and commercial buildings. Many of these are now gone. The supply of intact (or at least habitable) housing is very limited, which will drive up the price. The cost of new housing is going to be substantially more than the old homes. Even apartments will be more expensive. How is this going to impact the city's residents? Some may be able to afford the additional costs, but not many.

    Affordable commercial lease rates are a very important factor in entrepreneurship among middle-- and lower-income households. The fact that a small storefront can be leased for $500 a month makes it possible for somebody to open a Mexican grocery, a beauty salon, a barbeque restaurant, or a similar small business. After reconstruction there will not be many of these spaces. The economic developer in me tends to focus on issues like this, and I hope they will be considered in the reconstruction planning.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    One thing that has been alluded to, but not discussed directly, is the comparative cost of rent or ownership before and after rebuilding. New Orleans had a large supply of inexpensive homes and low lease rates on both residential and commercial buildings. Many of these are now gone. The supply of intact (or at least habitable) housing is very limited, which will drive up the price. The cost of new housing is going to be substantially more than the old homes. Even apartments will be more expensive. How is this going to impact the city's residents? Some may be able to afford the additional costs, but not many.

    Affordable commercial lease rates are a very important factor in entrepreneurship among middle-- and lower-income households. The fact that a small storefront can be leased for $500 a month makes it possible for somebody to open a Mexican grocery, a beauty salon, a barbeque restaurant, or a similar small business. After reconstruction there will not be many of these spaces. The economic developer in me tends to focus on issues like this, and I hope they will be considered in the reconstruction planning.
    Veering off topic a bit, yet related to this, something I've been wondering about is how many of the city's low income residents will return? The evacuees seem to be slowly being dispersed throughout the country. Once they get settled, find some employment, are they going to have the means to find their way back to New Orleans? That's not to say that new low-income immigrants won't come, following the potential for reconstruction jobs, etc.

    And back more on topic, if there is going to be a total loss of most of the structures in the city, or great swaths of neighborhoods, you might have an opportunity to develop in a manner similar to as follows, (I know this has a name, but since I haven't much though of it since grad school, then I can't rember it...). Rather than each lot being individually developed, you can look at an entire block, or neighborhood, and each land owner owns a percentage of that block, or neighborhood. You can redevelop the entire area and give each owner a percent interest based on their acreage ownings. Then they could buy back into ownership and living in a unit the development, earn rent on their percentage, or sell their percentage.

    If they could follow an ownership model similar to this, then the city could rebuild under creative new methods, whether New Urbanist, or something else more utopian in design than 20th century American suburban lot-by-lot development. They would just need some visionary people to come in and take charge of the redevelopment...

  11. #11

    City Planner for New Orleans

    The City Planner did an interview on KUT Austin Radio just now. http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/ku...&Submit=Search

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