Post-Katrina, New Urbanists Help Haiti

Philip Langdon compares the New Urban response to New Orleans and Haiti.

For the second time in five years, new urbanist methods and new urbanist imagination are being used to rebuild places crushed by natural disasters. In late January, Andres Duany went to Haiti to help generate housing after the staggering Jan. 12 earthquake.

Duany was primed for the Haiti mission by the experiences of 2005, when a large contingent of new urbanists began helping Mississippi and Louisiana to plan the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. The winds and flooding associated with Katrina inflicted $100 billion in property damage and caused 1,836 deaths. In Haiti, vast numbers of buildings and public works were destroyed by the earthquake, and 217,000 to 230,000 lives are said to have been lost.

There are certainly important differences between Haiti's circumstances and those of the Gulf Coast, yet the two post-disaster efforts have a good deal in common. Taken together, they reveal some of New Urbanism's strengths.

Thanks to Renee Brutvan

Full Story: After the disaster

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