Decentralizing Decisionmaking in New Orleans' Recovery

Various plans and strategies have been crafted over the years to try to help New Orleans recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. While early plans took a stronger stance, the city is now taking a less heavy-handed approach.
May 2, 2011, 12pm PDT | Nate Berg
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"Then there was the citizen-driven Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP), also from 2007, which outlined various principles-that all neighborhoods have a right to exist and be protected from flooding, for instance, and that citizens should decide their communities' fate. UNOP carries no official weight, but it has informed much of what has happened in recent years, including the clustering of schools, community centers, and health clinics, and even the insertion of bike lanes along rebuilt roads.

There's no question that Nagin's free-market approach has left out many residents. Some have found themselves isolated amid blight, without the choices or information that a more formal plan might have provided. Yet many neighborhoods have thrived in the do-it-yourself environment."

The recovery of New Orleans is now one of decentralized decisionmaking, and some say the city is better for it.

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Published on Monday, April 25, 2011 in Architectural Record
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