Sunday, September 04, 2005

New Orleans, the next Venice?

Over at a discussion is ensuing over the future of New Orleans? Should it be abandoned, rebuilt on higher ground, rebuilt in place?

My suggestion is that we move the residential areas to higher ground while preserving the urban and historic sections where they stand. Yes, it is in a horribly vulnerable location. Yes, it is below sea level. Yes, even if it is strategically located, the levees are, at best, a stop gap measure.

But what if we just got rid of the levees?

"But wouldn't that leave the city permanently flooded?", you ask. Well yes it would.

But Venice has been a prospering city built on pilings for centuries. True, during some high tides the folks have to retreat to the next floor up but it is a city that has learned to deal with the sea. Visitors leave their cars at the city gates and from there it is either walk or take a boat. True, there are differences between the geography of Venice and New Orleans. Venice is built in an archipelago on a series of islands and it is less likely to be hit by major storms, but still, there may be something to be gleaned from this most beautiful of European cities.


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