Planning after Hurricane Katrina

Robert B. Olshansky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hurricane Katrina was the greatest urban and regional disaster in U.S. history. The rebuilding of New Orleans and surrounding areas of Louisiana and Mississippi will require the largest and most complex planning effort in my lifetime. To succeed, we must learn from disasters of the past, while also applying the planning knowledge of the present. From past disasters, we know that successful reconstruction requires both outside funding and local citizen involvement. As planners, we know that the processes should be rich in data, imagination, communication, and participation, Optimistically, a new New Orleans will involve improved flood safety, revitalized neighborhoods, housing opportunities for all, and equitable treatment of all residents. Planners have an obligation to take an active role and advocate for the funding and full participation necessary to achieve these goals. The alternative would be a city that is poor, unsafe, and unequal. This is the greatest planning problem most of us have ever seen, and it warrants a correspondingly large response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-153
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Planning Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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