Columnists are leaping on the similarities between the WTC and NOLA events. Convienient timing may be a partial cause of this bizzare comparison - but not the whole reason. People are pleading, begging that NOLA (and the many other communities devestated by Katrina) learn the lessons of New York's rebuilding process. Given the dissatisfaction surrounding the current plans for the former WTC site - perhaps these loud warnings are justified.
Here, there, everywhere. We have to call it something, don't we? Who's got an idea? Let's call it Toponymy.
The city needs two new features to ensure its continued existance.
First: The city needs to be hardened against another natural disaster of this scale. This is a massive task that goes far beyond rebuilding a few levies. Serious and unprecedented infrastructure improvements will be needed to rehabilitate the area.
Second: The city needs an economic base other than tourism. While the charming districts that have kept the city on life support largely survived the storm - they should not become the only reason to visit New Orleans in future decades. My magic wand: sustainable energy development.
Now that the nation has seen how fragile and expensive our energy habits are - we should honestly work to building large-scale solutions to oil dependence. The city can be reformatted - re imagined and eventually transformed into a model of energy independence. This would have to be in spite of the massive oil industry prescience to the south (drilling in the Gulf) and west (Houston) near New Orleans.
The benefit of rebuilding New Orleans this way is three fold. First, a cultural and historic American city would be saved for future generations. Second, the current residents who now face unemployment as a result of the hurricane would have opportunities in the reconstruction efforts. Third, the process of economic and physical transformation would draw in professionals and capital from the most cutting edge industries in the world. (After all, everybody wants a slice of the New Big Easy.)
The tough question is always how.
A few links:
A Daily Dose of Architecture
Wall Street Journal
New York Times Infographic
Slate - Don't Refloat
"The Control of Nature" - John McPhee, excerpt
This is genius - it could precipitate a revolution in manufactured goods. At its core inverse manufacturing means products whose components are interchangeable amongst various models and within the product line. For example: parts in your copier might also be used in your printer or your fax machine. And these same parts will meet specifications for future models, too. It is the opposite of obsolescence and forced replacement and the dawn of a "repair and maximize" approach.
Read more about it. (Note: I mentioned copiers because the only firm I know practicing this is Fuji Xerox.)