Rebuilding of New Orleans

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Thanatoast, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #1
    I was just over at Slashdot reading a thread about the rewiring of NO, and found a disturbing number of comments advocating letting the city slide into the sea.

    It shocked me. Why would anyone advocate letting any city be completely destroyed? If LA burned to the ground would they say "Screw 'em, let 'em move somewhere else"? Or if New York got bombed? Or Miami blown away in a hurricane? Why are these people saying we should let New Orleans rot?

    What's opinion around here? Rebuild or retire?

    I would obviously advocate rebuilding, as I have family there and the problems are not insurmountable (unless you happen to be a politician actually trying to do it).

    The lack of leadership on all levels shouldn't condem the city of New Orleans to death.
     
  2. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #2
    We just need to learn to build better levies. The problem comes in when you decide what areas to protect with the levies. Obviously I'm for rebuilding NO, but without the right kind of protection, it will just be a giant waste of funds.
     
  3. elfin buddy macrumors 6502a

    elfin buddy

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    #3
    I say rebuild it once, and if it gets wrecked again, just take the hint ;)
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #4
    let me preface this by saying it's shameful what years of neglect and underfunding led to. it's also shameful the way the aftermath has been handled.

    if we could say right now that the destruction of katrina was a fluke, then i say rebuild it, the same way chicago was rebuilt after the fire and san francisco was rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake.

    but what if katrina wasn't a fluke? what if all those climatologists are correct, and that we're in for a nasty future due to global warming? if we somehow knew that, in 50 years time, the entire gulf coast was guaranteed to be hit by katrina-like storms or worse, every year, along its whole length, would we elect to rebuild now?

    this sentiment shouldn't be too far from the mainstream, because we have discussed the idea that maybe people shouldn't live where their homes are periodically destroyed. it's often couched in terms of, "'cuz i don't want to pay for all that cleanup. who told them to live where there are forest fires or where the mississippi floods or on the outer banks, etc."

    ....

    i agree with mac -- rebuild it, but do it right. but in a way, i agree with elfin buddy -- if the areas we build up keep getting destroyed in natural disasters, maybe we should think about not building there.
     
  5. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #5
    New Orleans is still a disaster area, and no one seems to care. There are still traffic lights out of order, the mail system is not fully functional, waste is still piled up on the streets - pretty mind boggling.

    (One of my sisters lives in the garden District, which was largely unaffected, luckily, but large portions of the city still look like a bomb went off yesterday, not a year ago.)
     
  6. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #6
    Hrm. With few exceptions, cities GROW... they are not just plunked down fully-grown so that people can just show up and start living and working there. A few people build a house, which becomes 10 houses and 1 business, which becomes 100 houses and 10 businesses and 1 school, which becomes 1000 houses, etc. Cities serve people, not the other way around. This is not a "if you build it, they will come" scenario.

    And generally speaking, governments should not be in the business of building or rebuilding cities. Again, that is a function of the PEOPLE who live and work there. No people = no city = no government.

    So, all of this pouring of public tax money into the rebuilding of New Orleans is ultimately going to be futile. Without people to live and work there, THERE IS NO CITY, no matter how many buildings you have. The people come first; the physical stuff follows the people, not the other way around.

    Should New Orleans be abandoned? Maybe not. But some of you folks need to wake up and smell the coffee: Much of New Orleans lies BELOW SEA LEVEL, and the city is surrounded by a river, a huge lake, and the ocean not far away... in a zone where another Katrina-sized hurricane is going to hit sooner rather than later. Only a damn fool builds a city in a giant bowl beside three bodies of water, and only a HUGE fool doesn't learn a lesson when Mother Nature teaches it to him. Ask the city leaders of Venice about this... if Venice is ever fully submerged, my response (and that of a lot of other people) will be "well, it was a good run while it lasted".

    Better yet, ask the city leaders of Pompeii. At least the Romans were smart enough not to rebuild a city that sat right at the base of an active volcano.
     
  7. iTwitch macrumors 6502a

    iTwitch

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    #7
    Saw that article at /. to, I say rebuild. It's a valuable resource that needs to be utilized correctly. ie. Build and Fortify.

    There was a thread here, there or somewhere shortly after Kat. in which many said it would get hit again and again and was a big money pit. :confused:
     
  8. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #8
    I know Clay's got me on ignore, but his inference that only stupid people build below sea level is probably news to the Dutch...

    Just thought the rest of you should hear that rebuttal. Some people need to wake up and smell the coffee. Or stop treating the rest of us like idiots.
     
  9. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #9
    Yes, it was here. Yes, I said it would be a big money pit, and so far it has been.

    We're still waiting on the part where Katrina 2.0 blows through New Orleans and floods the crap out of it AGAIN.

    Actually, I took you off Ignore.

    The Dutch aren't subjected to hurricanes... ever. But when sea level rises and their dikes are overwhelmed, the wisdom of building below sea level will surely be questioned.
     
  10. iTwitch macrumors 6502a

    iTwitch

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    #10
    OT: clayj would you briefly explain how you quote two people in one post? Thanks. My idiot question of the day.
     
  11. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #11
    Start to reply to one person... copy their quoted text (everything from QUOTE to /QUOTE), go Back, reply to the other person, and paste in the quoted text (with tags). You can repeat this process as many times as you like (copying, pasting, recopying, repasting, etc.) until you have all the text you want to reply to in ONE reply form. Then type your replies by each person's quote and you're done. :)
     
  12. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #12
    I just do it manually when I need to. I think that an automatic multiple quote was one of the nifty features previewed in the new version of vBulletin, however.
     
  13. XNine macrumors 68040

    XNine

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    #13
    I'm torn between both sides. I mean, there's no way in hell our government is going to pony up the cash to keep the dykes, levies, and pumping systems up to date and maintenanced enough that they will be effective for the next 10 years, let alone 100.

    So why rebuild something that will most likely fail again? HEll, you saw that bridge, I-10 or whatver it was, that was completely ripped apart. Half of it under the lake, half of it wanting to go under the lake.

    I realize that its a very historical part of our country, and that a lot of people lived there, and that's probably why it should be rebuilt, but is the future waste of money and peoples lives really worth this? Not at all.

    And its all because our government won't rebuild it to withstand these things every year for the rest of time. Instead they will do "good enough" and one day, it'll happen all over again. It's a shame, that's for sure.
     
  14. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #14
    The city I live in, Chesterfield, MO, built what is now the country's largest outdoor strip mall in a flood prone area near the Missouri River that was completely submerged under water in 1993. Pretty dumb move IMO. Rebuilding New Orleans is even dumber. The area is even more flood-prone and another hurricane is bound to happen. We've got less to lose. A Wal-Mart, a Hummer dealership, a Worst Buy, and a Home Despot. Not to mention the Target I used to work at, and I'd love to see that craphole get flooded. But if they rebuild NO to the great city it was a year ago, and this happens again, they have a lot more to lose.

    Plus, if they do rebuild, will it attact many people? A year later, most of the displaced people have probably settled down elsewhere, and I don't think too many other people are going to be rushing in to live in a bowl surrounded by water
     
  15. stoid macrumors 601

    stoid

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    #15
    I've had the opportunity on two separate occasions to spend a week helping to gut houses in New Orleans, and the whole mess is tricky. People want to come back, but the houses are all a wreck and so there is nowhere reasonable to live. The businesses are just in the past few months starting to open back up and fast food employees are being paid $12/hour and they still can't find enough people to work because everyone is spending all their time trying to rebuild their own house.

    The good news is that progress is being made, and quite a lot too. Yes, it still looks like a disaster area, but it's getting better. 80% of the city was flooded, and that amounts to hundreds of thousands of structures each requiring over 1000 man hours to clean, then more to mold treat, then more to rebuild. It's a dizzying amount of labor to rebuild after a destruction that complete. It's not the hurricane directly though that caused the damage, it was the breech of the levee that flooded the city that is the problem. If they can build new levees to withstand the hurricane, the city will have only minimal damage in future storms. Analysts say that it will take 5 years to rebuild the city, so that means that in 7-10 years life will be back to 'normal' in NOLA.

    The big change is going to be when the imminent domain clause takes over and the city reclaims untouched houses. Then houses that have been left abandoned can be bulldozed so that a new owner can come and build on the property.

    There are many people that love the city and while the people have hope in their city I say rebuild. Only when the last of it's residents have turned their backs and left the city is it not worth rebuilding.
     
  16. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #16
    Sure, but in that case the wisdom of building anywhere within 20 miles of our current coastlines will be questioned too.

    The wisdom of building in the Sacremento Valley was nearly called into question this past winter as well, but I don't see anyone calling for us to abandon one of the most productive pieces of agricultural land in the world.

    Look, it's not a matter of whether levies can be built to withstand Cat 5 storms -- we know that they can be. It's just a matter of cost. The big decision is where to put those levies. Do we put them around the old Lower Ninth Ward? Or just the "nicer" parts of NOLA?

    Not to mention that the effects of the hurricane were magnified by the loss of massive amounts of wetlands that traditionally act as a buffer against storm surges.

    If we were to stop destroying those wetlands and rehabilitate them, it would go a long way towards reducing the cost of the levy system that would need to be built.

    Also, while I don't disagree with you assertion that government shouldn't be involved in building housing or businesses in a city, government most definitely should be involved in deciding where and how cities grow -- and in the case of wiped out cities, where they should go. Private citizens are NOT best equipped to do this.
     
  17. cc bcc macrumors 6502

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    #17
    In the Netherlands we don't get hurricanes, but the sea is dangerous because about 40% of the land is below sealevel. After a great flood in 1953 a huge plan was created to protect the land from the sea. A lot of dams and other obstacles were build, the risk of failing was required to be at least 1 in 10000 per year. In fact they say that means that there is a chance that the dikes/dams can collapse due to a waterlevel only occurring 1 in 100 thousand years. I'm not sure how that was calculated however. :confused: But it sounds pretty safe. ;)
    I've heard the risk analysis for New Orleans was only 1 in 300 per year.

    Anyway, we don't have the choice of relocating cities, Holland is too small. You can imagine the costs of defending the land is enormous, if done well. Ask yourself how much tax you are willing to pay for this. Tax rates range from 34% to 52% here, depending on your income.
    Water is a risk for everyone in the Netherlands, so not many people are complaining paying for it. And traditionally the Netherlands is much more of a nanny state than the USA. Which I like.

    I'm not really well informed about the current situation in New Orleans and I have no clue on what would be better, relocating or rebuilding.
     
  18. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

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    #18
    I hate to be blunt but rebuilding New Orleans is a waste of money. In 40 years the shorline is expected to recead so much that the city will be under water. Poor investment.
     
  19. stoid macrumors 601

    stoid

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    #19
    The city is already under water. Or at least it would be if it weren't for natural and artificial levees.

    And look at the bright side, if the shoreline recedes, we'll probably lose most of Florida too.
     
  20. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

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    #20
    But that's America's manhood! :eek:
     
  21. stoid macrumors 601

    stoid

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    #21
    And as seen in the last national election, when you think with your manhood instead of your brain, you generally make a really bad decision that you regret for many years.
     
  22. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #22

    Anyone know how to speed up the receding of the shore line? We need that done before November 2008
     
  23. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #23
    Um, what about things like roads and public services? If a city gets hit by a natural disaster, should they be completely left to their own devices? If that was your city, would you say the same? I wonder if those who say we should abandon the city would say that if it was their's.

    So basically the gov let them down before and during, so they should let them down after too? :confused:
     
  24. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

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    #24
    Very clever :) I couldn't agree more.
     
  25. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

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    #25
    I remember watching a 'Horizon' programme (one of my all time favourite TV shows) about this on BBC2 a few months ago that featured a group of geologists and other experts from Louisiana who investigated Hurricane Katrina and the failure of New Orleans defences. What struck me the most about the programme was the poor planning involved in the construction of the 'defence systems' of New Orleans.

    The city is built on a swamp and is slowly sinking into the sea, yet the levies are constructed in such a way that that their bases do not run deep enough into the earth and are 'higher' than the city, so that any serious storm water just literally 'runs under' the levies meaning that their foundations collapse and get washed away with the storm.

    The other key factor according 'Horizon' was the disappearance of the wetlands that surround New Orleans, that offered a buffer against any hurricanes. Whereas in the past the mass vegetation would 'absorb' much of a storms energy before it reached the city, a storm now slams straight into New Orleans with devastating effects.

    The general conclusions of the experts was that it is possible to 'rebuild' New Orleans, but with expected rises of the sea level and the increasing frequency and strength of storms due to global warming, it would cost a huge amount of money and take a long time (decades) to achieve, and that it may prove, in the long-term, that the more wise decision would be to simply abandon the current location of such cities and to 'move' them to a safer piece of land.
     

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