New Orleans Under Reconstruction

New Orleans Under Reconstruction:The Crisis of Planning

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How to plan for a sustainable and equitable urban future

When the levee system protecting New Orleans failed and was overtopped in August 2005 following the arrival of Hurricane Katrina, 80 percent of the city was flooded, with a loss of 103,000 homes in the metropolitan area. At least 986 Louisiana residents died. The devastation hit vulnerable communities the hardest: the elderly, the poor, and African-Americans. The disaster exposed shocking inequalities in the city. In response, numerous urban plans and myriad architectural projects were proposed. Nearly nine years later, debates about planning and design for recovery, renewal, and resilience continue.

This bold, challenging, and informed book gathers together a panorama of responses from writers, architects, planners, historians, and activists—including Mike Davis, Rebecca Solnit, Naomi Klein, Denise Scott Brown, and M. Christine Boyer—and searches for answers to one of the most important questions of our age: How can we plan for the urban future, creating more environmentally sustainable, economically robust, and socially equitable places to live?

A 2014 grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts supported in part the publication of this book.