Rebuilding Urban Places After Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina

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Eugenie Birch, Susan Wachter
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006 - Political Science - 375 pages

Disasters—natural ones, such as hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes, and unnatural ones such as terrorist attacks—are part of the American experience in the twenty-first century. The challenges of preparing for these events, withstanding their impact, and rebuilding communities afterward require strategic responses from different levels of government in partnership with the private sector and in accordance with the public will.

Disasters have a disproportionate effect on urban places. Dense by definition, cities and their environs suffer great damage to their complex, interdependent social, environmental, and economic systems. Social and medical services collapse. Long-standing problems in educational access and quality become especially acute. Local economies cease to function. Cultural resources disappear. The plight of New Orleans and several smaller Gulf Coast cities exemplifies this phenomenon.

This volume examines the rebuilding of cities and their environs after a disaster and focuses on four major issues: making cities less vulnerable to disaster, reestablishing economic viability, responding to the permanent needs of the displaced, and recreating a sense of place. Success in these areas requires that priorities be set cooperatively, and this goal poses significant challenges for rebuilding efforts in a democratic, market-based society. Who sets priorities and how? Can participatory decision-making be organized under conditions requiring focused, strategic choices? How do issues of race and class intersect with these priorities? Should the purpose of rebuilding be restoration or reformation? Contributors address these and other questions related to environmental conditions, economic imperatives, social welfare concerns, and issues of planning and design in light of the lessons to be drawn from Hurricane Katrina.

 

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Contents

I
13
II
34
III
47
IV
66
V
78
VI
89
VII
103
IX
117
XVI
217
XVII
230
XVIII
244
XIX
259
XX
275
XXI
288
XXIII
305
XXIV
329

X
132
XI
149
XII
168
XIII
185
XIV
193
XV
201
XXV
342
XXVI
345
XXVII
365
XXVIII
367
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Page ix - The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.

About the author (2006)

Eugenie L. Birch is Professor and Chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. Susan M. Wachter is the Albert Sussman Professor of Real Estate and Professor of Finance, The Wharton School; Professor of City and Regional Planning, School of Design; and Co-Director, Penn Institute for Urban Research, at the University of Pennsylvania.

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