"Before the storm, we were not realistic about the fact that the city was already shrinking, and had been for a long time," said architect Steven Bingler, a leading player in crafting both the post-Katrina Unified New Orleans Plan and the recently adopted school-rebuilding blueprint. "So many people seem concerned that the city isn't as big as it used to be, but there are all these advantages to being able to finally get real."
"In many cities, moving out of the denial stage -- what Bingler called 'getting real' -- is the hardest part.
That's because shrinkage connotes defeat. But advocates of smart decline say it shouldn't. After all, continual expansion brings its own curses: sprawl, traffic jams, cookie-cutter subdivisions and chain restaurants, much of which New Orleans has mercifully avoided."