MOSAIC NOLA:The Gentilly Project

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Can New Orleans Be Re-Built Cost Effectively Yet Hurricane Proof?

One can notice on the news that there seems to be minimal property damage in the Naples, FL area after the significant Hurricane Wilma winds ripped through yesterday. Naples is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the nation and was recently rebuilt up to a new “Hurricane-Proof” code post Hurricane Andrew in the early 1990’s. Is the lack of property damage due to these new expensive building codes or were Wilma’s 120 MPH winds just not as damaging as one might think. If we wish to rebuild New Orleans so that another direct hurricane hit will not destroy the city once again will real estate prices soar pushing out its former low-income residents? How do we balance solid, well-engineered housing with affordability, is it even possible?

2 Comments:

  • A Novel Idea: Re-building with an Eye to the Future
    Is it just me, or does the American method of public works seem to be short, cheap, and easy? As engineers, we've known for YEARS that roads and houses built of concrete and cinder blocks are more expensive up front, but last much much longer, thus making them financially viable in the long term. They require less maintenance, and in terms of the small buildings, can withstand flooding and heavy rains (take a look at just about every building on India’s flood plain) as opposed to our cheap and quick wooden houses. Will it take the destruction of New Orleans to make people open their eyes? It’s possible to build in hurricane alley, even build to last. We’ve just been to focused on the short term to see…though many would say that’s been the theme behind the problems in New Orleans.

    By Blogger Klingon, at 8:45 AM  

  • The Director of the LSU Hurricane Center has also pointed out the need for long-term thinking about the city's storm protection. He says that focusing on levees won't be enough. There needs to be an emphasis on wetlands restoration, in order to protect the city in a long-term and relatively low cost way.

    And wetlands restoration would produce jobs for the local economy too.

    By Blogger Quintus Jett, at 10:43 AM  

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