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Cities in peril: lessons learned from hurricane Katrina

Stantec’s David Dixon shares insights he gained while leading the effort to prepare New Orleans’ master plan after Katrina

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<p>David Dixon: A natural disaster is a very visible event: you see it, you know about it, it's a clear crisis. Most communities that are affected by natural disasters, are also long been affected by economic and social issues for which resilience is also critical. Because as we isolate from each other, it’s harder and harder to make decisions together. I used to say when I'd be talking about resiliency from a social sense, that if you can't play together, pretty hard to vote together. And if you live miles from each other, if you never see each other, it's really tough to come together as a community to prepare for the disaster that hasn't happened, and, in some ways even harder to recover from the disaster that it has.</p> <p>I had the real honor, in many ways pleasure, challenge of leading the effort to prepare New Orleans' master plan after Katrina. And actually got involved in the significant matter of recovery work before that. And to be a wee bit frank, when New Orleans recovered from Katrina, the real challenge was to restart an economy that had been stagnant since the 1980s and basically relied on low wage jobs and tourism and-, and other services, to bring together a community that frankly had not yet had a real opportunity to recover from the kind of racial tensions that marked this city for many decades.</p> <p>And it was these kinds of challenges that New Orleans needed to overcome in order to recover from Hurricane Katrina. Because New Orleans was, in many ways, a very divided community along, let me see, a very fragmented community along lines of race, income, etc. New Orleans, couldn't come together to say, &quot;We're going to need help.&quot; You know, cities in peril we now know are going to need to be much better prepared. You know, we're much more aware.</p>

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