Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Orleans’ Recovery Needs “Unconventional Thinking"

04.12.2008
Calling New Orleans "the canary in the global warming coal mine", two Tulane University professors say the Crescent City must embrace unconventional thinking in order to recover in a sustainable way from Hurricane Katrina while withstanding a continual threat from rising sea levels, diminishing wetlands and future storms. They stress that the number one priority for Louisiana should be to combat global warming and accelerated sea-level rise.

In the commentary "Sustaining costal urban ecosystems" published in the latest issue of the London-based journal Nature Geoscience, Torbjörn E. Törnqvist, associate professor in Tulane's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Douglas J. Meffert, deputy director of the Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research, also say New Orleans must concentrate more of its population on the 50 percent of its land mass that lies above sea level.

"New Orleans could accommodate more than 300,000 residents above sea level, which by U.S. Census Bureau estimates is approximately the current population of the entire city," the authors write, citing a recent demographic study by colleague Richard Campanella, assistant research professor in Tulane's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. "The population density in New Orleans immediately before the exodus caused by Hurricane Katrina was only about 2,500 residents per square kilometer. By comparison, the present-day population density in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a city in a broadly similar environmental setting, is almost 4,500 residents per square kilometer."

Törnqvist and Meffert also point out that much of the city's above sea level land remains vacant and undeveloped while urban sprawl continues in areas known to flood. Urban sprawl in flood-prone areas should be banned, they say, in New Orleans as well as in vulnerable areas nationwide such as St. Louis, MO. On the other hand rebuilding efforts in floodplains should be restricted to raised, storm-resistant structures like those featured in Brad Pitt's "Make it Right" project.

The professors also contend that efforts at wetlands restoration are currently "miniscule" and need to be ramped up, along with a better understanding of the role rising sea levels play in exacerbating the devastation brought on by hurricanes.

New Orleans offers an unprecedented opportunity to find more effective ways to make urban coastal areas safer around the world, Törnqvist and Meffert say.

"A concerted effort to restore and transform a coastal urban center whose functioning is inextricably tied to its surrounding natural ecosystem can only lead to new knowledge and understanding that will prove critical once comparable conditions confront Shanghai, Tokyo and New York City," the authors write. Nature Geoscience is a monthly, multi-disciplinary journal aimed at bringing together top-quality research across the spectrum of the earth sciences along with relevant work in related areas.

Michael Strecker | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.tulane.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Modeling magma to find copper
13.01.2017 | Université de Genève

nachricht What makes erionite carcinogenic?
13.01.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>