Lessons for Detroit—from New Orleans

Detroit recently replaced New Orleans as the American city with the highest rate of blight. As Detroit undertakes its plans to shrink, which includes a massive blight removal campaign, what lessons from New Orleans bear repeating?

In a recent article for the New York Times, Campbell Robertson thoughtfully compares the lessons in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans with the current plans to shrink Detroit. The recovery of neighborhoods in New Orleans that were once proposed for demolition is a lesson in caution for those who might want to wipe the slate clean.

“If any city can speak about the difficult politics of downsizing, it is New Orleans, where a group of planners and business leaders proposed the idea as the best way to bring back the city after it was devastated by the flooding after Katrina in 2005 — and were instantly met with a level of citizen anger that killed the plan on the spot.”

“That the idea was floated at all — most fatefully in a map on the front page of The Times-Picayune that used green dots to suggest potential parkland where there were neighborhoods — set off a burst of block-level activism that would fuel much of the recovery. Some of the green-dot areas on that map are now among the city’s greatest success stories.”

Full Story: A Lesson for Detroit in Efforts to Aid a New Orleans Devastated by Katrina

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