New Orleans Bears
Slate has published a bearish assessment of Why New Orleans Won't Recover
:Cities have their own trajectories, governed mostly by the dynamism of their inhabitants and surprisingly little by their physical infrastructure. . . . A successful city is home to countless interpersonal networks that create innovation, or efficient economic production, or simply a good place to live. The architecture and city planning may help to establish those networks, but it can always be recreated quickly if damaged.
That may be why disasters rarely interrupt growth in a thriving city, while disaster reconstruction rarely prevents decay in a stagnant one. According to George Horwich, an economist at Purdue University who studied the aftermath of the Kobe earthquake, manufacturing in greater Kobe was back to 98 percent of pre-earthquake levels within just 15 months, despite the fact that six months after the tragedy rebuilding had scarcely started. Seventeen-thousand buildings in Chicago's central business district were utterly destroyed by fire in October 1871, but the city's recovery was astonishing, and its population trebled in 20 years. Chicago was on the way up, and the fire simply cleared the way for a more modern city assembled chiefly by the chaotic genius of individual entrepreneurs.
For New Orleans, a charming place for tourists but a desperate clump of poverty and poor schooling, the question is not whether the current reconstruction plans will create a thriving city?they will not. It is whether there are any that could.
And, the article didn't even address the destruction and near impossibility of replacing New Orleans' base of affordable housing. The disruption of the interpersonal networks that made New Orleans such a socially vibrant place, though, is often mentioned by New Orleans residents and former residents as one of the greatest losses.