Thursday, October 27, 2005

How to Rebuild

James Glassman (2005) of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research suggests that a revival of New Orleans must proceed on three fronts:

Infrastructure: Higher levees won't be able to stop another 100-year storm. Future hurricane damage can, however, be contained.

a. The lowest areas of the city and its surroundings should revert to wetlands and floodplains-grand natural parks.

b. The city also needs substantial floodwalls to compartmentalize the high water and stop it from inundating a majority of neighborhoods, and massive surge barriers such as those that protect London from the Thames and Venice from the Adriatic.

Society: New Orleans has neglected its poor, educating them in rotten schools, giving them only intermittent police protection and warehousing them in despair.

Renewal: Yes, rules should require the preservation of the historic city, but, beyond that, the revival should be as spontaneous as possible.

"The inevitable commission that will oversee the rebuilding must realize that the world's best designers, developers and innovators will be drawn to the city only if they are relatively unrestricted. New Orleans could become a laboratory for ideas like tax-free commercial zones and school reform."

Calling New Orleans "the ultimate libertarian city," Glassman is optimistic about being able to rebuild the city "while retaining its spirit of mystery, absurdity, beauty and decadence." He is quick to point out, however, that "Corruption, squalor and stupidity do not equal charm. As we have seen, they can kill."

Glassman, James K. ”How to Rebuild a Great City.” The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. September 13, 2005. .


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