Journal article Open Access

Longer View: Planning for the Rebuilding of New Orleans

Olshansky, Robert B.; Johnson, Laurie A.; Horne, Jedidiah; Nee, Brendan

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  "DOI": "10.1080/01944360802140835", 
  "author": [
      "family": "Olshansky, Robert B."
      "family": "Johnson, Laurie A."
      "family": "Horne, Jedidiah"
      "family": "Nee, Brendan"
  "issued": {
    "date-parts": [
  "abstract": "Problem: Catastrophic disasters like\nHurricane Katrina disrupt urban systems,\neconomies, and lives, and pose huge problems\nfor local governments and planners\ntrying to organize and finance reconstruction\nas quickly and effectively as possible.\nPurpose: This article aims to summarize\nthe key planning challenges New Orleans\nfaced following the August 29, 2005 flooding\nin order to identify lessons planners can\napply following future disasters.\nMethods: In this case study we sought to\nobserve key decisions about the recovery as\nthey unfolded. Collectively, we spent months\nin New Orleans in 2005, 2006, and 2007,\nand interviewed leaders of all the planning\nefforts to date. One of us played a lead role in\nthe design and execution of the Unified New\nOrleans Plan (UNOP), and all observed\nand/or participated in neighborhood-level\nplanning activities.\nResults and conclusions: We agree with\nprevious findings on post-disaster recovery,\nconfirming the importance of previous plans,\ncitizen involvement, information infrastructure,\nand external resources. We also observe\nthat the recovery of New Orleans might\nhave proceeded more effectively in spite of\nthe inherent challenges in post-Katrina New\nOrleans. Many local difficulties are a result\nof the slow flow of federal reconstruction\nfunding. Despite this, the city administration\nalso could have taken a more active leadership\nrole in planning and information\nmanagement earlier; the city's Office of\nRecovery Management has since improved\nthis. On the positive side, the Louisiana\nRecovery Authority has been a model worth\nemulating by other states.\nTakeaway for practice: Planning can\ninform actions as both proceed simultaneously. Had New Orleans planners not felt so\ncompelled to complete plans quickly, they\nmight have been more effective at providing\nreasoned analysis over time to support\ncommunity actions and engaging a broader\npublic in resolving difficult questions of\nrestoration versus betterment. A center for\ncollecting and distributing data and news\nwould have better informed all parties; this\nremains an important need.\nKeywords: recovery planning, New\nOrleans, disaster planning\nResearch support: We received support\nfrom the Mid-America Earthquake Center,\nthe Public Entity Risk Institute, and the New\nOrleans Community Support Foundation.", 
  "title": "Longer View: Planning for the Rebuilding of New Orleans", 
  "type": "article-journal", 
  "id": "995756"
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