Rebuilding the Mississippi Coast

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Gulfport, MS

Battered Gulfport, Mississippi.[Ed Arnold]

Following Hurricane Katrina Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour warned that however the state rebuilt its southernmost region would “decide what the Coast will look like in 10 years, 20 years, and beyond. We must seize this opportunity to do this right.”

In hopes of doing it right Mississippi has convened the world’s biggest ever charette – an intensive collaborative planning meeting where urban design professionals tackle everything from what kinds of housing to build, to how to lay out a city’s streets. From now until next Tuesday, over 400 city planners, architects and city officials from Mississippi and elsewhere will convene in Biloxi’s Isle of Capri Hotel to figure out some grand plans and some small details on rebuilding the entire gulf region.

By the time we do this show, the charette will have ended. And the first of a series of town hall meetings will have taken place. So we’d like to do a post-mortem of the week long event – what was accomplished? What did they come up with? How were their plans and suggestions received? And how many are likely to be implemented by the towns and cities for whom they were developed?

We’d also like to know, what’s the story around the charette? How are people receiving it? ((One person posting on the Sun Herald’s blog asked, “If today’s event was a public hearing, why was it surrounded by barbed wire?”) Do people affected by the hurricane even care about the grand plans, if they’re still worried about getting their FEMA trailers or their insurance checks? Or if they’re stuck with family in North Carolina?

Andres Duany

Founding Principal, Duany Plater-Zyberk

Co-founder, Congress for New Urbanism

Widely considered the leading practitioner of “New Urbanism.”

David Tortorano

Reporter for the Biloxi/Gulfport Sun Herald

Mayor Xavier Bishop

Mayor of Moss Point, Mississippi

Some more things to check out

Mississippi Renewal

Governor’s Commission

The Sun Herald’s Blog

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