Rebekah Green, 31, who recently completed her Ph.D. in Structural Engineering and is now a post-doctoral fellow at Columbia University's Earth Institute, plunged right into the middle of the New Orleans rebuilding effort this past month.She is one of several Earth Institute fellows working with ACORN (Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now) to survey the needs of New Orleans residents as part of a larger project of risk and damage assessments.
thinks that ,the city can be repopulated, can be made flood-safe, or at least drastically lower the probability of large-scale flooding., But Green also foresees possible hurdles to such plans. ,The problem is that things of that scale are beyond the ability of the local governments.From an engineering standpoint, however, it,s not all that difficult.,
, any reconstruction project must focus first on addressing the greatest threats to the communities, which can only happen when residents are given a voice.Otherwise, her
outlook on New Orleans is grim. ,My cynical side says that we will see a massive demographic change in the next few years, like with the Great Depression and the Dustbowl, a migration outward of low-income residents ...The result would be a fundamental change of who is where.Assuming the political process takes on a high-level approach., With so much at stake in the reconstruction, Green
and the other young engineers were aware of how much engineers could shape the future.
Traveling about the city during a break from school, Georgia Tech
,s Vogt heard of an instance of small-scale construction that might serve as an encouraging parable. ,One of the effects of the hurricane was that it killed all vegetation,, says Vogt. ,Everywhere is brown.A friend of mine saw this, and the first thing he
did when he
returned to his
place in the Lakeview area was have his
yard cleaned up and landscaped, re-seeded the grass and everything.