How cities are rebuilding to be more resilient to natural disasters

PBS NewsHour: Fourteen years after Hurricane Katrina, the neighborhood of Gentilly, New Orleans, is still in the process of rebuilding.

Even after experiencing the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, residents wanted to stay in their neighborhoods– going so far as to fight the city’s controversial “green dot” plan, which would have abandoned neighborhoods like Gentilly and turned them into wetlands.

In response to the pushback, New Orleans came up with an alternate solution: allow residents to remain in their homes, but also retrofit the area’s landscape to help the neighborhood better withstand the next natural disaster. The plan included new ditches, rain barrels and dry creeks designed to hold substantial amounts of water and reduce runoff that could destroy homes and other property.

New Orleans is not alone in its efforts to build communities that are more “resilient.” Cities, residents and businesses across the U.S. and the world are seeking ways to end the expensive cycle of rebuilding after natural disasters. Instead, they are boosting efforts to design buildings and local infrastructure to withstand hurricanes, floods or wildfires.

The efforts are being made even more urgent as climate change is expected to lead to more extreme weather events.

Each year, Rebuild by Design, a nonprofit started after Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast Coast in 2012, hosts multiple innovative design competitions, modeled after the international competition launched by President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. Read more>>