Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rebuilding Right

"The Big Easy Rebuilds, Bottom Up"

Excellent article: New Orleans vs. New York, private planning versus government planning.

Still more infamous were its "green dots," markers on maps that seemed to suggest turning some low-lying areas where people already lived into parks. "There is a large green dot over our homes," one resident fumed at a crowded town-hall meeting in January 2006, according to New Orleans's Times-Picayune. "I will sit in my front door with my shotgun," promised another homeowner.

I like that guy.

Though Habitat has kept costs under $80 per square foot, even including what paid labor it uses, it has taken a no-nonsense approach to structural integrity. Walking through half-built Habitat houses, you think that they could already stand up to anything: deeply driven pillars support their elevated foundations, and their structural elements are reinforced with concrete and steel. Jim Pate, Habitat New Orleans's executive director, boasts that the 101 homes that the organization had completed before Katrina suffered no structural damage, even though some had to withstand walls of water.

As I said — steel and concrete. If you fear that the Big Bad Wolf of global warming will blow down your house, you build in steel and concrete. You don't take your life in fief from Comrade Al, hoping he'll be able to somehow keep the wolf from the door.

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