What Can Sandy Learn from Katrina about Housing?

As the Sandy clean-up gets underway, could this be an opportunity for the Eastern Seaboard to apply some of the rebuilding lessons learned along the Gulf Coast after Katrina? Ben Brown shares some pointers.

"If there's one upside in the succession of devastating weather events over the last decade, it's the opportunity to build on lessons learned. Time between disasters dulls response capacities; shorter gaps refine best practices. And for my money, no lessons are worth more than those connected with the evolution of sustainable neighborhood design."

As a leader in coastal resilience, Ben Brown applies lessons he's learned as Communications Director for both the Mississippi Renewal Forum after Hurricane Katrina and of the 90-day charrette for the Coastal Recovery Commission of Alabama after the BP Oil spill.

"First of all, this irony: The housing bust, the Great Recession and some major demographic shifts are likely to force a faster adaptation to reality in 2012 than in 2005. When Katrina hit, the housing and growth bubbles were expanding big time, and expectations - demands even - for a 'return to normal' imagined a recovery that recaptured the delusions."

Ben goes on to give inspiring examples of the people and places overcoming barriers to developing local cottage communities and pocket neighborhoods. As well as identifying the hurdles to remove.

"Since this important transition in neighborhood redevelopment will be driven, at least initially, by local government policy and state and federal funding that tend to default to low-bid processes and innovation-killing bureaucracy, the journey to that better place has a few barriers to overcome."

Thanks to Hazel Borys

Full Story: Finally Thinkin’ Small: But can we build on what we’ve learned?


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