Lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina

Submitted by digital on Fri, 08/21/2015 - 13:22
{"version":"0.3.0","atoms":[],"cards":[],"markups":[["i"],["b"],["a",["href","http:\/\/lsuccc.dps.louisiana.gov\/","target","_new"]],["a",["href","http:\/\/lsuccc.dps.louisiana.gov\/"]],["a",["href","https:\/\/www.disastersafety.org\/"]],["a",["href","https:\/\/www.disastersafety.org\/","target","_new"]],["a"],["a",["href","http:\/\/www.nola.gov\/city-planning\/current-comprehensive-zoning-ordinance\/"]],["a",["href","http:\/\/www.nola.gov\/city-planning\/current-comprehensive-zoning-ordinance\/","target","_new"]]],"sections":[[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"Seven\nGulf Coast-area architects share what\u0027s changed since the storm"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"To coincide with\nthe 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we reached out to a cross-section of\narchitects for their first-hand and varied insights on any positive\ndevelopments in terms of design approaches, public policy changes, client\nattitudes, and still-remaining gaps and vulnerabilities for the Gulf Coast\nregion."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Based on what has been learned in the years following\nHurricane Katrina, what are the most important considerations for communities\nin disaster-prone areas?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Mark Ripple, AIA"],[0,[],0,":\nIn New Orleans, we have spent the last century living under the delusional idea\nthat we could keep pumping our city dry, building higher and higher floodwalls,\nand that ultimately our engineering acumen would keep us safe. We ignored basic\nprinciples which were clearly understood by our urban forerunners of the 18th\nand 19th centuries\u2014that flexible, adaptable design approaches which embrace and\nengage our environment is the optimum long-term approach."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Allison H.\nAnderson, FAIA"],[0,[],0,": Communities need to accept that an event is not a\nonce-in-a-lifetime event and plan for the next one\u2014one that will be stronger\nand more damaging to life and property. If they understood that there was a\n10-year timeline, and that they had 10 years to prepare for the next storm, it\nwould have changed the recovery substantially."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"David Perkes, AIA"],[0,[],0,":\nWhen disasters occur, it is almost automatic that FEMA will expand its flood\nzones. This catches homeowners off-guard and presents real challenges from\ninsurance and building code standpoints if they decide they want some design\nelements to better protect their home against future storms. The change in\nflood zones actually changes the entire notion of being a homeowner, where\ntheir residence can go instantly from being an asset to a financial liability."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Ann Somers, AIA"],[0,[],0,":\nTo have a delineated plan in place for evacuation, and a plan in place for\nthose that do not leave in time but need shelter; then have contacts with all\nthe groups that can help after a disaster, so cleanup and getting home- and\nbusiness-owners back as soon as possible to start re-building. A lot of\nstructures were further damaged following Katrina because they had no cleanup\neffort until long after the storm."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Judith Kinnard,\nFAIA"],[0,[],0,": The loss of life and property is typically the result of bad policies\nand decisions by the public and private sectors. Disaster events are often\npredictable; they can and must be managed in advance."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Have you noticed any positive changes in design\napproaches, government agency protocols, and\/or public awareness? If so, what\nare the most compelling?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Steve Maher, AIA"],[0,[],0,":\nAfter Katrina, the insurance companies took a big hit and the Louisiana State\nLegislature had to respond quickly in order to convince insurance companies to\nstay in the state. The "],[0,[2],1,"Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code Council"],[0,[3],1," "],[0,[],0,"was\nfounded, and [it] established wind-design requirements based on certain areas\nof the state. These increased wind-design standards have proved to be prudent,\nas shown by how newer buildings fared in light of hurricanes Gustav [2008] and\nIsaac [2012]."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Perkes"],[0,[],0,":\nAlmost immediately, the [Mississippi] governor\u2019s office changed the policy\nregarding casinos in Biloxi that had been built and floating in the water. Not\nonly did it get these structures out of the Gulf of Mexico and harm\u2019s way, but\nthey are now far better integrated into the urban fabric and a more natural\npart of the community. Mississippi is also leading the country with programs\nthrough the"],[0,[4],1," "],[0,[5],1,"Insurance\nInstitute for Business \u0026 Home Safety"],[0,[6],1," "],[0,[],0,"that\nprovides financial incentives to design and build beyond code. A $500 spend\nwhen fortifying a roof can result in a 20 percent insurance reduction. At the\nfederal level, the Department of Homeland Security is exploring a \u201cResilient\nStar\u201d standard, which would make a big difference to advancing fortified\nbuilding."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Kinnard"],[0,[],0,":\nThere is a fundamentally different approach to the way we think about the\nground and the landscape. Designers are using many creative strategies to link\nraised building levels to public streets and sidewalks. The city\u2019s longstanding\napproach to stormwater pumping has, unfortunately, increased the risk of\nflooding and property damage from land subsidence. Policies are changing,\nhowever, and our recently adopted"],[0,[7],1," "],[0,[8],1,"Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance"],[0,[7],1," "],[0,[],0,"requires\nmost projects to retain a significant quantity of rainfall on-site while\nincluding landscape to mitigate the heat-island effect and sheltering\npedestrians from the sun."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"J. Scott Eddy,\nAIA"],[0,[],0,": Adaptability, being able to change based on immediate needs or\ncircumstances; and diversity, planning to reduce the risk of loss of any one\ntype of service\/utility within a city\/town\/municipality due to a single event.\nIn Collins, Miss., there were underground gasoline storage tanks. So gas was\navailable, but due to Katrina there was no power to pump it."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Anderson"],[0,[],0,": The\nlevel of familiarity with design, a result of charrettes, has given citizens a\nnew language with which to demand change. Although recovery didn\u2019t happen\nexactly as envisioned, residents understand the value of walkability, mixed\nuses, historic preservation, and green spaces. Now, because of the strong\ncommunity engagement, these are the people and groups that are empowered to\nmake things happen."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"How have general public and architecture client\nattitudes to resilient design approaches evolved in recent years?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Anderson"],[0,[],0,":\nAfter Katrina, there was so much confusion about the base flood elevations that\nmany people rushed to rebuild at their previous elevation the same footprint\nthey lost. Many of these rapid rebuilders suffered additional damage from Isaac\nand Gustav. Because of these recent storms, and changes to the flood insurance\nsubsidies, they are dismayed to discover the price tag that accompanies this\ndecision. There will always be the holdouts that say, \u201cI want what I had before\nthe storm,\u201d but we need to share this message: It comes at a higher cost."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Eddy"],[0,[],0,": Based\non the impact of Katrina, I\u2019ve seen more client requests for diversity in\nbuilding systems to increase redundancy, and requests for more proactive\nplanning to address the \u201cwhat if this or that happens?\u201d Still very much a cost\nconsideration, but it is being talked about."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Ripple"],[0,[],0,": The\nimplementation of resilient practices has been no different. People may not\nunderstand how the city works, but we recognize its failures and shortcomings\nmore than ever in the 10 years following the storm. Resilient design has been a\nway to bridge those shortcomings, by keeping communities in place and intact\nwhile preparing them with an appropriate architectural response, to confront a\nsignificant disaster or emergency and pick up the pieces thereafter."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"If you had a magic wand to make one change from an\nofficial policy or regulatory standpoint, what would it be?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Anderson"],[0,[],0,": No\n\u201cgrandfathered\u201d structures: If there have been repetitive losses, people must\nrelocate away from unsafe sites. Allow higher densities on safer ground to\nreceive these housing units."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Maher"],[0,[],0,": We\nhave to make coastal conservation a top priority at the local, state, and\nespecially the federal level. The Gulf Coast is our first line of protection\nagainst hurricanes, and we\u0027re losing an area the size of a football field every\nhour! The coast has to be preserved in order to protect our communities."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Eddy"],[0,[],0,": Within\nthe past few years, Mississippi has adopted a statewide building code, but it\ncontains language which allows municipalities to opt out. I would like to see a\nmandatory statewide building code as a means of establishing a minimum standard\nof design and construction regardless of where you are located in the state."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Ripple"],[0,[],0,": To\nrequire every Corps of Engineers capital project to include robust involvement\nby architects. It is quite dismaying to see the massive new flood protection\nwork being executed without any urban design or aesthetic considerations. One\nneed look no further than the Netherlands to see that urban-scaled\ninfrastructure projects can be beautiful as well."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Perkes"],[0,[],0,": What\nhas been frustrating is that if a family wants to relocate to a safer area\nfollowing a disaster there is not an equitable way for families to be bought\nout. The FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs are extremely complicated\u2014it\u2019s\nlike they almost discourage families to seek a relocation buyout option by\nmaking the application process so cumbersome. There needs to be some readymade\nprograms that are user-friendly and make it economically feasible for families\nto have their homes bought out at fair and reasonable prices."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Kinnard"],[0,[],0,": I\nwould still like to see higher-density development on higher ground as a\nprudent strategy, without forcing residents out of the lower areas."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Somers"],[0,[],0,": That\nis easy: a statewide building code. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"All interviews conducted by Scott Frank, senior director of media relations at the AIA."]]]]}
An overview of developments in design approaches, public policy changes, and client attitudes in the Gulf Coast region since Hurricane Katrina.
Members Only
Tile Sizes
Use on Homepage
Temp Draft