Have Planners Made the Gulf Coast Better Since Katrina?
Federal, state, and local authorities' response to the needs of the Gulf Coast have resulted unexpected improvements, particularly in housing, explains Michael Newsom:
"The Katrina cottage, developed as an alternative to FEMA trailers, was also an overall success, [Former Biloxi, Mississippi Mayor Gerald] Blessey said. About 2,400 of the cottages, which came from ideas in the report, were permanently placed."
"'At first, (the cottages) were supposed to be temporary,' Blessey said. 'So many people liked it. Staying on their own lots made a lot of difference, especially to elderly people, disabled people. We were able to successfully convince all the jurisdictions to change their rules to allow them to become permanently placed.'"
"'We have about 1,000 more public housing units than we had pre-Katrina,' he said. 'That program for low, low income people was a godsend …. There's always a need for public housing and we had a need before Katrina, but the fact that we increased it by about 1,000 is really a credit to the local officials and the local housing authorities.'"
Additionally, in rebuilding transportation infrastructure has allowed the states to make improvements that they otherwise would not have. For example, two major bridges were rebuilt with biking and walking paths.