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Thread: The plan to rebuild New Orleans - questions from Australia

  1. #1
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    The plan to rebuild New Orleans - questions from Australia

    Ok here in Sydney we got this report on what is happening with the rebuilding of New Orleans, the report is a little bias and i was just wonder if anyone can pass on an "informed" opinion of it, as i am interested!

    New Orleans unveils rebuilding plan
    January 12, 2006 - 11:29AM- (Sydney Morning Herald Online)

    Orleans has unveiled a controversial recovery plan giving residents four months to prove they will rebuild in the devastated city before their areas could be declared off-limits to redevelopment.

    The plan calls for a much smaller city, housing just half of the 500,000 people who lived in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina struck on August 29 will return in the next two years.

    It proposes residents and experts form planning teams for each neighbourhood that will decide by May 20 on the fate of those most heavily damaged by the storm and the flooding that followed.

    It was designed by the urban-planning panel of the Bring Back New Orleans Commission appointed by Mayor Ray Nagin.

    For an area to be ruled viable, half the residents should commit to come back, the commission proposed as a guideline.

    Until decisions are made, a moratorium will be placed on rebuilding in badly damaged sections such as New Orleans East, the waterfront Lakeview and the poverty-stricken Lower Ninth Ward.

    The proposal drew loud "boos" and shouts of anger from residents who crowded a downtown hotel meeting room for its announcement.

    "I'm ready to rebuild. I'm not going to let you take everything. I'm ready to fight to get my property together," one man shouted from the back of the room.

    Carolyn Parker, a resident of the ruined Lower Ninth, told the panel: "I don't think it's right that you try to take my property.

    "Over my dead body," she said. "I didn't die with Katrina."

    If a neighbourhood is not deemed habitable, or too few residents return, the city could ban redevelopment and turn it into a park or open space. Property owners could be compensated in a proposed federal buyback program that would provide 100 per cent of their homes' pre-storm value.

    "There's no question there's going to be shrinkage. People don't want to hear that," said Joseph Canizaro, chairman of the panel.

    The concept of getting rid of certain neighbourhoods altogether has angered many black residents of the Lower Ninth Ward who fear theirs is among the most likely to be closed.

    The plan will cost $US12 billion ($A16 billion) for property buybacks, $US4.8 billion ($A6.37 billion) to build transportation and another $US1 billion ($A1.33 billion) for demolition of housing and reconstruction of damaged public buildings, said John Beckman, a planning consultant for the commission who laid out the details for the public.

    The plan gives everyone an opportunity to return, said Beckman, adding: "We want these people back, every single one of them".
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    Natski, there is a New Orleans thread in Cities and Places http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=19586 that you may want to examine for some background on the planning process. Depopulation does appear to be on the agenda.

  3. #3
          mentarman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by natski
    Ok here in Sydney we got this report on what is happening with the rebuilding of New Orleans, the report is a little bias and i was just wonder if anyone can pass on an "informed" opinion of it, as i am interested!
    Not sure what you want explained, but a Google search will turn up other reports about the plans. Also not sure what you found biased about the piece; it appears to be the Reuters story about the meeting/plan and seems to me to be pretty neutral.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by natski
    Ok here in Sydney we got this report on what is happening with the rebuilding of New Orleans, the report is a little bias and i was just wonder if anyone can pass on an "informed" opinion of it, as i am interested!
    My proposal is avoid establishing planning teams, commissions, panels, authorities, and other groups of know-it-alls.

    Instead, government must focus on rebuilding physical infrastructure - levees, bridges, roads, and utility systems. In addition, government should prioritize re-establishing an efficient, transparent system for recording deeds, mortgages, and similar property-related documents like liens.

    Leave the decision to rebuild private property to the private property owners. If it is worth re-building, they will do it and banks will help finance it.

    The problem with establishing all sorts of commissions is the inevitable infighting and indecision causes reconstruction to grind to a halt. Also, flowing government funding through these groups leads to dreadful corruption - this will certainly occur in Louisiana where the culture of corruption is at a third world standard. Avoid establishing local groups of so-called experts and allow the federal government financiers to work directly with the property owners.

    An extremely relevant precedent exists - the World Trade Center site. Five years on, a plan still hasn't been agreed for the site and probably won't be agreed for many more years. Countless regional, state, county, city, local, and non-profit groups all think they are in charge. And the site comprises just a few acres!

    On the other hand, a building called 7 World Trade Center that was actually located on privately owned land near the World Trade Center site was also destroyed on September 11, 2001. Free from the shackles of government bureaucracy, construction started on a new 7 World Trade Center in 2002. Any day now, it will open to tenants.

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    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Warning...EXTREME BIAS ahead....

    I hated the mayor before the storm and I hate him even more now. He completely ignored the fact that a city planning commission exists and that it's staffed with planners. Well, I should say WAS because the staff was cut from 24 to 8 post-Katrina. Rather than rely on the expertise of local planners (there's plenty of them here along with an accredited planning school located right at the lakefront), he established a panel of goons headed by a slum-lord property owner and half-assed developer to "create a vision" for the rebuilding of the city. He then brought in the ULI for their so-called "expert" advice. They more or less said the same thing the mayor's so-called commission said....scale back the city. Forget that that part of the city ever existed. AS IF!!!

    As far as residents of the affected areas needing to commit to come back.......do you know what the hold-up is??? THE GOVERNMENT, from the top all the way down to the bottom, and insurance companies. People are waiting on FEMA to supply new flood elevation maps, local officials to indicate what the next steps should be and to tell the power company to turn the electricity back on in those neighborhoods so that the resident can clean their properties, insurance companies to pay what they're supposed to. Most importantly, people are waiting on the assurance that the levees will be rebuilt to withstand a Category 5 storm and nothing less. It's an endless cycle.

    I can't honestly say that I'm speaking from experience. I am fortunate to live in an area that, ironically, doesn't have any hurricane levee protection, but happened to be a little more west of the storm's path so was spared from flood damage. However, I have enough family and friends who lived in those affected areas to say that I feel their pain.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

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    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Thanks Planderella,

    I guess it just appeared to me that not much consultation with the community/local planners had taken place- and after such a disaster, wouldnt the mayor encourage everyone to come back.

    I mean i understand there has to be some give and take, but it just appeared a little wrong to me. (being halfway across the world doesnt help!)

    BTW 100 posts!!! yay! Thanks to everyone for making me feel welcome on cyburbia!
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planderella
    Warning...EXTREME BIAS ahead....

    I hated the mayor before the storm and I hate him even more now. He completely ignored the fact that a city planning commission exists and that it's staffed with planners. Well, I should say WAS because the staff was cut from 24 to 8 post-Katrina. Rather than rely on the expertise of local planners (there's plenty of them here along with an accredited planning school located right at the lakefront), he established a panel of goons headed by a slum-lord property owner and half-assed developer to "create a vision" for the rebuilding of the city. He then brought in the ULI for their so-called "expert" advice. They more or less said the same thing the mayor's so-called commission said....scale back the city. Forget that that part of the city ever existed. AS IF!!!

    As far as residents of the affected areas needing to commit to come back.......do you know what the hold-up is??? THE GOVERNMENT, from the top all the way down to the bottom, and insurance companies. People are waiting on FEMA to supply new flood elevation maps, local officials to indicate what the next steps should be and to tell the power company to turn the electricity back on in those neighborhoods so that the resident can clean their properties, insurance companies to pay what they're supposed to. Most importantly, people are waiting on the assurance that the levees will be rebuilt to withstand a Category 5 storm and nothing less. It's an endless cycle.

    I can't honestly say that I'm speaking from experience. I am fortunate to live in an area that, ironically, doesn't have any hurricane levee protection, but happened to be a little more west of the storm's path so was spared from flood damage. However, I have enough family and friends who lived in those affected areas to say that I feel their pain.
    Well, on the limited evidence I have following this from the UK (there was a good recent New Yorker articel about the NOPD), it seems like the 'city leaders' are like soemthing out of a third-world country.

    Good luck to ya'll. That said, I would liek to visit as soon as thigns are more or elss back to normal - always wnated to see the old quarters 9the bits that still exist, I guess...)
    Life and death of great pattern languages

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    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    Well, on the limited evidence I have following this from the UK (there was a good recent New Yorker articel about the NOPD), it seems like the 'city leaders' are like soemthing out of a third-world country.

    Good luck to ya'll. That said, I would liek to visit as soon as thigns are more or elss back to normal - always wnated to see the old quarters 9the bits that still exist, I guess...)
    Well, the main 'touristy' parts of the city (the French Quarter and the downtown area) are mostly above sea level and suffered little to no damage in the storm and its aftermath. At last estimate, the city is back up to between 70 and 80K population and they are planning a Mardi Gras as normal in a few weeks.

    Mike

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920
    Well, the main 'touristy' parts of the city (the French Quarter and the downtown area) are mostly above sea level and suffered little to no damage in the storm and its aftermath. At last estimate, the city is back up to between 70 and 80K population and they are planning a Mardi Gras as normal in a few weeks.

    Mike

    It really is misleading to people who don't live in the New Orleans area to think that the city is rebounding back at some great speed just because tourists are returning and businesses are reopening. If you venture just a few blocks outside of the French Quarter, you'll get a REAL view of the city's progress.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  10. #10
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planderella
    It really is misleading to people who don't live in the New Orleans area to think that the city is rebounding back at some great speed just because tourists are returning and businesses are reopening. If you venture just a few blocks outside of the French Quarter, you'll get a REAL view of the city's progress.
    Fully agreed. Words and pictures cannot adequately depict the scale and scope of that disaster (I have already talked with Louisanans with first-hand observations on the subject). It will be a loooong time before some of those areas are cleaned up and reinhabited and I have serious doubts that wide sections will ever be repopulated, the destruction was that complete. Even when those homeowners get their insurance settlements (if they haven't already), most will likely stay away and if they do chose to return to the NO area I don't know if they will even be able to rebuild on their old sites, as bank loans and new insurance policies my be impossible to come by and there may be no public utility services to serve them.

    I stand by my expectation of no more than 150K population in the city in the 2010 USCensus.

    Mike

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Planderella
    People are waiting on FEMA to supply new flood elevation maps...ain.
    Preliminary maps due this summer.

    It likely will be about two months before FEMA can provide any new data to the city, according to Gary Zimmerer, FEMA's lead engineer for the mapping project. Even then, Zimmerer said, the agency likely will not release maps, but only provide "advisory information" about what the new maps are likely to show....

    Preliminary maps probably won't be available until summer, Zimmerer said. Once those are released, city officials will be able to appeal them in part or in whole while FEMA works on the final versions. When the maps are finalized, the city must adopt them or be shut out of the National Flood Insurance Program, which is administered by FEMA.

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