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Quote of the Day - A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams. - Unknown
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Will Condos and Casinos Replace Antebellum Mansions?

While Congress falters, Mississippi worries whether the rebuilding effort will turn its coastline into Stepfordville.  The land use decisions facing Gulf Coast residents are particularly troublesome in light of the Kelo decision, and whether the parishes will turn over land to condo towers and casinos or try to maintain the original character of the South.

Planning departments across the country face these choices every day, but in the wake of the Katrina-Rita set of hurricanes, some planning departments are staring at a whole different level of a problem.  It's not everyday that you have to rebuild entire sections of states.  New Orleans' planning department's site proudly proclaims, "It's time to rebuild the Louisiana of our dreams."

That begs the question:  whose dreams?  Will the coastline be populated with antebellum mansions or casinos?  Where does the old Southern architecture fit in?

I spent some time in the South while in college, and did my fair share of touring around, when things were in mint condition.  There's something to be said for sitting on the veranda, looking down a long, tree-lined driveway while rocking back and forth with a mint julep in your hand on a cool summer evening watching the mighty black water slip by.  It's not so simple now, however.

In each city and county general plan in California, we have a requirement for low-income housing, and based on the mantra that we hear from the mainstream media, the poorest in the Gulf Coast have been the hardest hit, and have the most need for housing in the devastated areas.

This disaster, where two out of every three houses on the coastline have been leveled, provides an unprecedented opportunity given such a blank canvas.  Hopefully, we've learned our lesson and won't repeat New York's mistake. 

Will we take advantage of the opportunity or squander it?

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Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, September 26, 2005 at 16:35 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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