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Media Round-Up: Hurricane Katrina, 10 Years On

Today marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, setting off what was among the most significant catastrophes to strike the United States in the 21st Century. New Orleans' flood defenses failed, causing the loss of over 1,400 lives and billions of dollars in property damage.

Naturally, such a disaster takes some time to recover from, for individuals but also for a city as a whole, and so for the past decade New Orleans has been a case study for cities to show them how to recover, rebuild and move on - at certain times serving as both an example of good practice and a warning of "what not to do." On the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, here's a round-up of stories about the rebuilding of a city from around the web.

The Architects Foundation Launches Reconstruction Program for Nepal

Responding to the devastation caused by the April 25 earthquake in Nepal, the American Institute of Architects' Architects Foundation has launched a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action alongside the All Hands Volunteers to execute a replicable $3 million reconstruction plan for the Himalayan nation. Society of Nepalese Architects (SONA), Architects Regional Council Asia (ARCASIA), Department of Small Works (an organization founded by Cameron Sinclair) and local architects will all partake in the program.

5 Architectural Secrets of the Badjao: 21st Century Sea People

Thousands of years ago, a small civilization of hunter gatherers migrated to the coastal regions of Southeast Asia. These people progressed into a widespread tribe of travelling sea dwellers. To this day, they remain a stateless people with no nationality and no consistent infrastructure, sometimes living miles away from land. Yet these people are one of the few civilizations whose collective life practices have survived so long through human history. They are called the Badjao, and they have a surprising amount to teach us about architecture.

Badjao community off the coast of Sabah, Malaysia. Image © Dolly MJ via Shutterstock Badjao woman rowing boat. Image © Dolly MJ via Shutterstock Temporary construction in Southeast Asian ocean. Image © asnida via Shutterstock Badjao child rowing near coast. Image © idome via Shutterstock

RIBA Seeks Architects In The Wake Of The Himalayan Earthquake

Following the devastating earthquake in Nepal this week, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have teamed up with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to "help to identify Nepalese nationals or others with local or regional experience to provide technical expertise." According to the RIBA, the IFRC "has already deployed approximately 100 people to support the Nepal Red Cross in search and rescue efforts, emergency health, water and sanitation, relief, shelter and inter-agency coordination as well as support services such as telecoms and logistics." They state that "given the operational constraints in the country, most agencies are wary of overloading country teams at this stage. However, the IFRC anticipates there will be a need for additional technical expertise in due course."

Nepal's Historic Architecture Destroyed By Earthquake

Just one of the many tragedies involved in the devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday - which as of this morning is known to have claimed the lives of over 3,500 people - is its effect on the historic architecture of the region. Home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the affected regions of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, news outlets from the BBC to The Washington Post are reporting extensive damage to some of the country's most significant monuments.

Archiculture Interviews: Shigeru Ban

“An earthquake doesn’t kill people, the collapse of a building kills people.” In Arbuckle Industrieslatest interview released following their world premiere of Archiculture, architect humanitarian Shigeru Ban clearly delineates “natural” disasters as a product of mankind, rather than nature. Hear the Pritzker laureate’s thoughts on designing for minorities, disasters, and the importance of travel in the video interview above. 

Architecture for Humanity Announces Completion of Haiti Initiatives

Architecture for Humanity has announced the end of their program in Haiti, effective from January 2015. The charitable organization, which has its headquarters in San Francisco, set up offices in Port-au-Prince in March 2010 in order to better help the people of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Through almost five years in Haiti, they have completed nearly 50 projects, including homes, medical clinics, offices, and the 13 buildings in their Haiti School Initiative. Their work has positively affected the lives of over 1 million Haitians, with their schools initiative alone providing education spaces for over 18,000 students.

Read on after the break for more on the end of Architecture for Humanity's Haiti program, and images of their completed schools

École Elie Dubois. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity École La Dignité. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity St. Louis de Gonzague Chemisry & Physics Building. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity École Ceverine. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity

The Rockefeller Foundation Kicks Off its 100 Resilient Cities Challenge

The Rockefeller Foundation has kicked off its 2014 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, which aims to help “build resilience to the social, economic, and physical challenges that cities face in an increasingly urbanized world.” Each of the 100 cities selected will receive funding to hire a Chief Resilience Officer and assistance in developing and implementing a resilience strategy.

“We can't predict the next disruption or catastrophe. But we can control how we respond to these challenges. We can adapt to the shocks and stresses of our world and transform them into opportunities for growth,” the 100 Resilient Cities' site reads. While shocks include events like earthquakes, fires and floods, stresses include high unemployment, inefficient public transportation, endemic violence or chronic food and water shortages. The Challenge aims to help cities be better prepared for these adverse events and better able to deliver basic services in both good and bad times to all members of the population.  

 Learn more about the Challenge after the break…

OMA & BIG among 6 Winners in Rebuild By Design Competition

Yesterday, US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced OMA, BIG and four other teams as the winner of "Rebuild by Design", a competition aimed at rebuilding areas affected by Hurricane Sandy focusing on resilience, sustainability and and livability.

In total, HUD have allocated $920 million to the six projects in New York, New Jersey and Long Island to enable the completion of this vision.

Read more about the winning schemes after the break

New Medowlands: Productive City + Regional Park, by MIT CAU, ZUS, Urbanisten. Image Courtesy of rebuildbydesign.org Living, Growing Breakwaters: Staten Island and Raritan Bay, by SCAPE / Landscape Architecture. Image Courtesy of rebuildbydesign.org Living with the Bay: Resiliency-Building Options for Nassau County’s South Shore by Interboro Team. Image Courtesy of rebuildbydesign.org The BIG U, by BIG. Image Courtesy of rebuildbydesign.org

Is It Time To Abandon the Coastline?

Between Hurricane Sandy in the USA and ongoing storms and floods damaging large areas of Britain, the issues of flood prevention and coastal defense are now a top priority for planners on both sides of the Atlantic. This article in the Guardian asks whether it might be time to give in to the sea and rethink our affinity for coastal living; and this one on Architecture Boston asks to what extent society should be expected to foot the bill for those in high-risk areas, and wonders how, legally, the state could encourage people to live elsewhere.

Rockefeller Foundation Selects 33 Cities for Resiliency Challenge

The Rockefeller Foundation has named the first group of cities selected in the “100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge.” Each city has been chosen for demonstrating “a commitment to building their own capacities to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back rapidly from shocks and stresses.” More than 1,000 registrations and nearly 400 formal applications from cities around the world were submitted. After careful review of each city's challenges, these 33 where chosen: 

Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge: OMA's Comprehensive Strategy for Hoboken

Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge: OMA's Comprehensive Strategy for Hoboken. Image Courtesy of OMA
Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge: OMA's Comprehensive Strategy for Hoboken. Image Courtesy of OMA

OMA’s comprehensive strategy to rebuild the New Jersey city of Hoboken, after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, has been selected as one of ten initiatives moving forward in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Rebuild by Design competition. The proposal, Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge, focuses on establishing resiliency through the integration of key infrastructural elements that not only protects coastal neighborhoods, but also the entire city of Hoboken. 

10 Projects Advance to Rebuild by Design's Final Round

After three months of in-depth analysis and public outreach, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has shortlisted 10 design “opportunities” for the third and final round of Rebuild by Design. The design competition, focused on making New York’s Sandy-effected regions more resilient, sustainable, and livable, will now have the final project teams collaborate with local and regional stakeholders in developing their projects over the next five months. The goal is to arrive at projects that are implementable and fundable, leveraging the variety of federal recovery investments being made in the region.

OMA, BIG and WXY are just a few practices involved in the final round. Read on to review a glimpse of each shortlisted proposal.

Architects & AIA Respond to Devastation in the Philippines, Call for Immediate Help

On Friday, one of the strongest storms ever to hit land left 660,000 Filipinos homeless, with countless more desperately needing basic supplies to survive. 

In the wake of catastrophe wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Architecture for Humanity are calling for immediate help as survivors face severe shortages of food, water, shelter and medical supplies. 

Both organizations will be aiding local volunteers to help rebuild in the coming days and weeks. Through speaking with local stakeholders and construction professionals, they are working to begin understanding the on-the-ground situation to prioritize rebuilding needs and help affected regions build back better and stronger. Relief and reconstruction, however, cannot happen without your support. Learn how you can send aid to typhoon victims today after the break. 

3C Competition Winners Announced

First Place: Adaptive Urban Habitats / Mixed Paper
First Place: Adaptive Urban Habitats / Mixed Paper

Operation Resilient Long Island (ORLI) has just announced the winners of its 3C: Comprehensive Coastal Communities ideas competition. Entrants were asked to design solutions that were not just resilient but also contextually sensitive and pragmatic to the devastating aftermath of Super-storm Sandy as well as all future natural disasters. Over 60 submissions were received from 20 different countries and 32 finalists were engaged in a public education strategy through a public voting campaign. A jury panel of eight leading professionals in the fields of architecture, urban planning and disaster mitigation met in mid-September to review the top finalists and selected 3 winners.

The 2013 winners of the 3C Competition are:

The 20 Cities Most Vulnerable to Flooding

A new study, published in Nature Climate Change, has compiled a list of cities most vulnerable to coastal flooding. Taking in consideration elevation, population distribution and available flood protection from 136 coastal cities worldwide, in addition to forecasts of sea level rise and ground sinking due to groundwater depletion, the study determines that if no mitigating steps are taken, coastal flooding will cause damage totaling $1 trillion annually by the year 2050. 

Topping the list as the most vulnerable city is Guangzhou, China, followed by Mumbai and Kolkata in India, Guayaquil, Ecuador and Shenzen, China. Almost all cities at the highest risk of flooding damage were in North America or Asia.

The top 20 most vulnerable cities are:

How Shoddily Constructed Buildings Become Weapons of Mass Destruction

Why is it that the Bay Area can suffer a 6.9 earthquake and lose just 63 people, while Haiti suffers a slightly stronger quake and loses about 100,000? The answer: shoddy construction. As Bryan Walsh of TIME points out, “We tend to focus on the size of an earthquake, but death toll has more to do with the quality of buildings. [...] Poverty — and even more, poor governance and corruption — is the multiplier of natural disasters. [...] That’s why one of the most vulnerable places in the world is south-central Asia.” Learn more about the dangers of poorly constructed buildings here and see what the "true value" of architecture is here

Four NGOs Launch Housing Competition to Aid Disaster Survivors

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Make It Right, St. Bernard Project and Architecture for Humanity has formed a strategic partnership to launch “Designing Recovery,” an ideas competition created to aid in the rebuild of sustainable and resilient communities.