New Orleans' Recovery Lessons for Haiti

Nearly five years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the bungled recovery effort offers lessons to Haiti and Chile as they recover from more recent natural disasters, according to this piece from Allison Arieff.
April 6, 2010, 6am PDT | Nate Berg
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"There will be a similar lack of expediency in Haiti, but at this still-early stage there's still time to apply some of the lessons we learned from the missteps following Katrina. The widespread destruction in New Orleans (and Biloxi, Miss.) starkly highlighted the need for context-specific building codes, stable construction and non-toxic materials. One has only to look at the fatalities in Chile as compared to Haiti: though the Chilean earthquake registered 8.8 on the Richter scale, the country experienced 279 fatalities, compared to Haiti's 230,000 from their less powerful 7.0 earthquake. (Another reason for the difference, of course, had to do with where and how the two earthquakes struck.)"

Arieff calls for a context-driven architectural response to the disaster in Haiti, rather than one based on specific design aesthetics that may overshadow the true purpose of the recovery effort.

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Published on Friday, April 2, 2010 in The New York Times
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