Following on Phillipâ€™s post below about whether to rebuild New Orleans: House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., caught hell when he wondered aloud whether it made sense to rebuild a city that is 7 feet below sea level.
But some urban planners and others are also asking these tough questions, and they deserve a hearing. Slate has a good online debate about the controversy here.
Iâ€™m certain New Orleans will be rebuilt, for many reasons, although it might be smaller. The problems for rebuilders still loom large, however: How will the unique character of the city survive? And how will future storm catastrophes be avoided?
Raising the levee, for instance, could simply make the bowl-like city more deeply inundated in the next Category 5 hurricane.
This will be an engineering and urban planning challenge of the highest order.
That said, just because New Orleans is vulnerable to natural catastrophe is not, by itself, a reason to abandon it. Under that thinking, San Francisco wouldnâ€™t have been rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake â€” and today America wouldnâ€™t have one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Posted by Randy Scholfield
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