Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, but in the subsequent ten years, the city has demonstrated both remarkable resilience and frustrating stagnation. In Reforming New Orleans, Peter F. Burns and Matthew O. Thomas chart the city's recovery and assess how successfully officials at the local, state, and federal levels transformed the Big Easy in the wake of disaster. Focusing on reforms in four key sectors of urban governance-economic development, education, housing, and law enforcement-both before and after Katrina, they find lessons for cities hit by sudden shocks, such as natural disasters or large-scale financial crises.One of their key insights is that post-disaster recovery tends to limit local control. State and federal officials, national foundations, and local actors excluded by pre-Katrina politics used their resources and authority to displace entrenched local interests and implement a public agenda focused on institutional and governmental change. Burns and Thomas also make clear reform in New Orleans was already underway before Katrina hit, but that it had focused largely on upper- and middle-class residents, a trend that accelerated after the storm. The market-centered nature of the reforms have ensured that they largely benefited city and regional elites while not significantly aiding the city's working-class and impoverished populations. Thus reform has come at a cost and that cost, in the long term, could undermine the political gains of the post-Katrina era.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 425 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 20 mm
"Through the conceptual lenses of 'political arrangements' and `policy agenda fidelity' the authors set out to explore the ways extralocal actors and reform-oriented players have used their resources and authority to change pre-Katrina governance configurations and... capture eloquently the identity of the pre-Katrina status quo and the longstanding patterns of corruption, patronage and mismanagement that characterised the city institutions and officials prior to the storm. It will be a critical resource for academics, researchers and practitioners in the field of disasters, urban politics and urban sociology."-- Angeliki Paidakaki * Urban Studies Journal *
"'New Orleans was different after Hurricane Katrina, but it was not new.' With this thoughtful observation, Peter F. Burns and Matthew O. Thomas assess dramatic changes in post-Katrina New Orleans' politics and policies in the context of prior political arrangements. The disarray unleashed by Katrina encouraged collaboration between a newly active business sector and civic elite on reform proposals that wrested authority from local actors and diminished local voices. Burns and Thomas trace the effects of this extralocal reform narrative on housing, economic development, public education, and the police. Reforming New Orleans features wonderful detail on The Big Easy and the politics of reform."-- Susan E. Clarke, University of Colorado, author of The Work of Cities
"In Reforming New Orleans, Peter F. Burns and Matthew O. Thomas open for full view what many paid very little attention to before August 2005: New Orleans has long been a poor, dangerous, racially divided, and struggling city. Burns and Thomas provide a rich description of policy implementation in New Orleans before and after the storm and of what happened to education, public housing, and public safety after Katrina. This book breaks new ground."-- Marion Orr, Frederick Lippitt Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Political Science and Urban Studies, Brown University, author of Black Social Capital: The Politics of School Reform in Baltimore, 1986-1999
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