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Panel 2: Catastrophic Change and the Crisis of Planning
Saturday, October 24th, 9 am – 11:45 am

A lunch break will follow Panel 2. The conference will reconvene at 1 pm.

Kevin Fox Gotham
John Kaliski

M. Christine Boyer, “New Orleans and Human Security: Lessons to be Learned”—In the 1980s, “human security” was defined as non-military threats to human welfare. Within this security box were placed serious risks to humanity that warrant priority and action by decision-makers. In particular, human security watchers are studying threats of global warming and rising sea levels that might inspire violent conflicts. Hurricane Katrina is the single largest natural phenomenon of the 21st century: it destroyed the entire southeastern region of the United States. On August 31st, 2005, eighty percent of New Orleans was flooded, with some parts under 15 feet (4.5 m) of water.  What lessons might be gleaned from studying reconstruction plans and “human security” issues in post-Katrina New Orleans?  New Orleans still has 60,000 abandoned houses as of 2009. Public health care, public education, and public housing are all less available and being privatized. Crime rates are high. Plans and promises for rebuilding New Orleans abound, yet the city still struggles with implementation. This paper will study the effect of some of the outstanding recovery plans and the “human security” issues they entail. 

Michael Cowan and Nolan V. Rollins
, “Institutional Reform and Social Trust in post-Katrina New Orleans”—Cowan and Rollins, who work together in a variety of contexts in New Orleans, will explore their efforts and those of other civil-society leaders to build agreement across race and class lines to achieve local public institution reforms. Such reforms, they argue, are essential for New Orleans to flourish and continue to nurture the human, social, and economic capital that exists in the city. Highlighting the way in which racial polarization and the lack of social trust have derailed previous attempts at institutional reform, they argue for a reform methodology that will promote transparency, inclusiveness, and ultimately result in increased economic opportunity for all.

David Dixon, “New Orleans Master Plan and a new Culture of Planning”—New Orleans Master Plan, now nearing completion, is intended both to help complete recovery and to prepare New Orleans to take advantage of economic and related opportunities unmatched in five decades. Renewed prosperity can support significantly enhanced livability, individual opportunity for everyone, and improved environmental resilience. However, the community lacks the sense of shared destiny, and the city lacks many of the tools that are critical to take the essential, bold steps necessary to complete rebuilding of wet neighborhoods, diversify the economy, and achieve similar crucial tasks. Unlike master plans for most cities, New Orleans' Master Plan focuses not just on the policies and strategies that will unlock a new era of opportunity, but also strives to help the larger community build a stronger culture of planning that brings people together from every walk of life to work toward a shared future.

Allen Eskew, “Reinventing the Crescent”—Executive Architect for New Orleans' 6-mile riverfront development plan, Reinventing the Crescent, Allen Eskew will present the overall plan, explaining its goals. He will also share details about the specific scope of the project that is currently under construction and what designers hope it will achieve. This endeavor, a project not of recovery but one of renewal, brings focus to New Orleans' need for quality-of-life improvements and aims to increase in-migration.

Laura Kurgan, “Middle Out Planning: Maps, Land, and Social Networks in post-Katrina New Orleans”—Hurricane Katrina exposed New Orleans’ neglected physical infrastructure and ecological vulnerability. It also highlighted the fragility of civil institutions in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, places in which social life is made even more unstable by the constant displacement to and resettlement of people from the criminal justice system. Before Hurricane Katrina, the State of Louisiana had the double distinction of having the highest incarceration rate in the nation as well as one of the most disproportionately black prison populations. New Orleans residents in particular, most of them African American, were migrating in large numbers between distant state prisons, local jails, and a few city neighborhoods. This presentation will propose that the entire criminal justice infrastructure—not just policing—be rethought to establish a safer city, not simply in the interest of crime control but as an essential component of the rebuilding process. Weeks after the storm, the Spatial Information Design Lab transformed its analytic incarceration mapping project into an action-oriented proposal for New Orleans. Reflecting on several years of work, we will ask what the proposal’s implications are for urban planning and the future of criminal justice in post-Katrina New Orleans.

M. David Lee, “Beneath the Underdog, Urban Design and the Social Contract”—This presentation will address the unique role of urban design in the rebuilding of the social and physical infrastructure in America's distressed neighborhoods.

David Waggonner, “Ground Zero”—The situation in coastal Louisiana is unstable and eroding. In order to maintain a significant settlement at New Orleans, space for water must be allotted and an operational water management infrastructure developed. Planning efforts must prioritize the building of infrastructure to support the foundation layer of ground and water in conjunction with programs that promote coastal restoration and enhanced, dependable levee protection. Such an agenda is required to successfully enhance both the safety and the value of the habitation layer. However, a culture of planning, which was lacking in New Orleans pre-Katrina, is necessary to move such an agenda forward. Our Dutch Dialogues project provides one possible model for the implementation of a planning culture in New Orleans. In a process that has been essential to the development and success of the low-lying Netherlands for centuries, Dutch people come together to talk about physical and social issues (often involving water and related economic impacts), devote time to hear disparate views, find common ground, and forge agreement.