Institute for Urban Research Conference—
Rebuilding Urban Places After Disaster:
Lessons from Hurricane Katrina
Provost Ronald Daniels and the Penn Institute of Urban Research have organized a conference, Rebuilding Urban Places after Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina which will take place February 2-3 to focus on rebuilding cities and their environs after a disaster.
Since 75% of the nation’s population is urban, an exploration of rebuilding issues in metropolitan areas, with attention to cities, is not only relevant but critical for future preparedness. The conference will feature leading national experts, including scholars from Penn, who will address the broader implications of events such as Hurricane Katrina for cities across the nation.
In considering rebuilding urban areas, four major issues emerge:
1) making places less vulnerable to disaster;
2) re-establishing economic viability to urban regions;
3) responding to the permanent needs of the displaced; and
4) recreating a sense of place.
Underlining these concerns is a crucial theme, setting priorities interactively, one that poses significant challenges for rebuilding in a democratic, market-based society. Disasters tend to disproportionately affect at-risk populations. This theme evokes many questions including: Who sets priorities and how do they set them? Can we organize participatory decision-making under conditions requiring focused, strategic choices? How do issues of race and class intersect in the rebuilding process? Should we restore or reform as we rebuild?
Marc Morial, New Orleans’ former mayor, president and CEO of the National Urban League,
will give the Opening Address on February 2, in Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall, at 5 p.m., followed by Penn on the Front Lines, a panel of Penn faculty and alumni sharing their experiences responding to Hurricane Katrina, moderated by School of Medicine Dean Arthur Rubenstein.
The conference continues all day on February 3 at Jon M. Huntsman Hall. Provost Daniels will give Welcoming Remarks followed by the Institute’s co-directors Dr. Eugenie Birch and Dr. Susan Watcher. Then, President Amy Gutmann will speak on Setting Priorities for Rebuilding.
For the complete agenda, see www.upenn.edu/penniur/rebuilding/. There is limited seating available; to register, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 20, January 31, 2006