Friday, February 17, 2006

Dutch Treat

American and Dutch architects are plotting ideas for the recovery of New Orleans. As well as their intentions may be, I don't believe their efforts will amount to much in the big picture.

Tim Christ, from the Los Angeles firm Morphosis, sums it up best;

"There's not an architectural problem, the problem is displacement of people," Christ said.

"Logic dictates, there's no way to provide fire protection, police, teachers, schools, roads and street lights in all areas that were destroyed. There's no tax base to pay for it."

People need to realize that the problems that face New Orleans are practical ones. Some new fantastic building in the city will do nothing to bring back residents and no one has come up with a panacea to solve it.

The conundrum is such:

  • Over 75% of the housing units in the city have been rendered uninhabitable.
  • Because so many residents are displaced due to lack of housing, businesses have difficulties finding adequate labor.
  • The high demand for construction-related labor has attracted many contractors, tradesmen and laborers from out of town.
  • There are not enough places to house the contractors to rebuild the housing units needed.
Conseqently, many contractors are commuting to the city from as far away a Baton Rouge, which also has a housing shortage.

This recovery will be a long time coming. The solutions to the problems will be many and slow. We just have to be patient. Save the eye-candy for later.

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