Olshansky Reflects on Hurricane Katrina's Aftermath

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Urban Planning's Rob Olshansky examined recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for his 2010 book Clear as Mud: Planning for the Rebuilding of New Orleans with Laurie A. Johnson. Now five years later and 10 since the disaster, he notes that the outcomes of rebuilding New Orleans are still unclear. Although a significantly higher proportion of people were able to return to the city than expected, some residents are living under worse circumstances than before, while others want to come back but cannot for financial or personal reasons related to the disaster. The rebuilding process was valuable for establishing discussion sessions between residents and government officials, but it was marked by bureaucratic systems that disadvantaged those earning low incomes. National policy changes in the wake of Katrina helped the cleanup after Hurricane Sandy proceed more smoothly, yet they came too late to benefit New Orleans citizens, who were angered by their city's painfully slow recovery planning. Olshansky indicates that even 10 years after this devastating event, it may be too early to fully evaluate the rebuilding process and its effects. Read the full feature on Olshansky from the News Bureau.