Sunday, 16 March 2014
Friday, 7 March 2014
In August-September 2005, during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the worst flooded area of “Central City” was, at 4,687 km², [inhabitants / sq km] the city’s largest population density and on the site of a former lake at 1.5 metres below sea level (New Orleans Community Data Center, 2005). The majority of inhabitants were low-income and black, an ethnic minority in the USA with a long history of disadvantage, which added to an already rich melting pot of vulnerability. Social, including political and economic, forces had obliged disadvantaged communities to occupy the most vulnerable areas of a vulnerable city. Those same forces created and perpetuated poverty, which enmeshed in this vulnerability and led to characteristics of place that were, to some degree, defined not just by the people and their poverty, but also by the fact that the people and their poverty developed according to the characteristics of the place. These characteristics of place were further defined by people in other, less poor places, who enjoyed the national advantages of New Orleans’ port and culture without concern for the consequences for other people living in the same city.