Karl Seidman new book, Coming Home to New Orleans, documents grassroots rebuilding efforts in New Orleans neighborhoods after hurricane Katrina, and draws lessons on their contribution to the post-disaster recovery of cities. The book summarizes Katrina's impact and the planning and public sector recovery policies that set the context for neighborhood recovery and presents and analyzes rebuilding for six New Orleans neighborhoods. The concluding chapter argues that grassroots and neighborhood scale initiatives can make important contributions to city recovery in four areas: repopulation, restoring "complete neighborhoods" with key services and amenities, rebuilding parts of the small business economy and enhancing recovery capacity. It also calls for more balanced investments and policies to rebuild rental and owner-occupied housing and more deliberate collaboration with community-based organizations to undertake and implement recovery plans, and proposes changes to federal disaster recovery policies and programs to leverage the contribution of grassroots rebuilding and more support for city recovery.
MIT's work in New Orleans since Katrina is also the subject of a new museum exhibit in the Compton Gallery, entitled "After Katrina: MIT’s Department of Urban Studies + Planning Takes On Big Questions About Rebuilding." The department will also host an opening reception for the exhibit on May 9.