Saturday, January 30, 2010

Transplanted | How Well Do We Rebuild?

Why is it that our efficiency to clean up after a disaster is in direct contrast to our efficiency to rebuild after a disaster? We seem to fully understand how to dispatch the cranes and bulldozers and trucks to cleanse the city, yet we struggle to direct them to expeditiously reconstruct the city. We deploy our armed forces to rescue our people yet we struggle to coordinate architects, engineers, and planners to rescue our cities. This is completely incongruous to me. If we as a people have the skill set for removing debris effectively we simply must have the ability to bring new debris back in the form of buildings and infrastructure.

The only explanation for the hole in New York City at Ground Zero, the dilapidated FEMA trailers still littering New Orleans, and the tent communities sure to remain in Haiti is that everyone agrees that the carnage of the aftermath must be cleared, but we are somehow incapable of agreeing on what should follow. Making the decisions to clean up is politically easy. Making the decisions as to what gets rebuilt, how it gets rebuilt, and who profits from the rebuilding has proven to be too difficult a task for our leaders.

Science tells us that earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods will be a constant variable in our lives as long as we inhabit this planet. Reality tells us that terrorism is not going away anytime soon either. So, then, we need a better strategy to deal with the destruction left in their wake as our current one is only partially and marginally effective. I, therefore, propose a Design Cabinet. This Cabinet would be independent of the one established in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, it would be chosen by the President, and would be constructed regionally into Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and Southeast chapters. Each chapter would be composed of one of each of the following:
-civil engineer
-construction superintendent
-landscape architect
-urban planner

Each chapter must not include any of the following:
-any individual with more than two days of political experience in any capacity

The Design Cabinet would be charged with approving designs submitted by open competition. Their selections would be final and absolute.

A perfect system is a fallacy, but the lack of any system is intolerable and inhumane.

No comments: