Katrina and Sandy: Devastating Storms, But That's Where the Similarities End

Roberta Brandes Gratz examines the many differences, and few similarities, between the two most devastating urban storms of recent memory. Among the most elemental differences: one devastated neighborhoods, one a city; one was man-made, one natural.

Gratz compares the causes, impacts, and responses to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. And the comparisons demonstrate that Katrina's impact on New Orleans, caused by the failure of the city's levees, and the government's bungled response, "incapacitated by systemic breakdowns and leadership vacuums," is without compare.

"The point here is not to belittle Sandy and the damage it wrought," says Gratz. "Yet, the differences between the two hurricanes are many, and require radically new responses."

"But good news is evident in both disasters. Communities came together. Volunteers appeared from everywhere to lend a hand. New support networks were forged. Fundraising was impressive. Once again, evidence was clear that Americans don’t wait for government to rescue them – but they do expect it to be there when all else fails."

"Now the question is: Can the evidence and the new solutions that have been revealed be translated into real action before the next disaster?"

Full Story: Two Storms, Two Cities: Not Many Parallels Between Sandy, Katrina


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Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.