New Orleans Five Years Later


Friday, August 27, 2010

How do you rebuild a city? Five years after Hurricane Katrina hit, New Orleans is still answering that question. Robert Olshansky and Laurie Johnson are urban planners and co-authors of the book Clear as Mud: Planning for the Rebuilding of New Orleans. They tell Kurt about how the city is using disaster as a chance to improve its design while still preserving its culture.

    Music Playlist
  • Gather By the River
    Artist: Davell Crawford
    Album: Our New Orleans - A Benefit Album for Habitat For Humanity
    Label: Nonesuch
    Purchase: Amazon


Laurie Johnson and Robert Olshansky

Comments [1]

Michelle Novak from NYC

Hearing the urban planners in this story discuss "blank slate" ideas reminded me of one of my favorite maps — Wren's plan for London after the fire of 1666.

After the fire (which burned for more than four days), Charles II encouraged the homeless to leave the city and set up a specially convened fire court to quickly sort out property issues (which took four years). Architects, hoping to win favor with the King, submitted plans for a "new" London, with new boulevards and plazas carved out of the City's twisting medieval streets.

But even as they were planning, the owners were already rebuilding, court or no court, and placing buildings exactly where they had stood before the fire. Even as plans reached the palace, it was too late. Charles II had no choice but to let the ad hoc building continue — lest he spark civil unrest by razing buildings already rebuilt. Wren received a commission only for the monument.

Wren's map:

Aug. 29 2010 10:58 PM

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