As described in the Times-Picayune, a delegation of Dutch and American architects and urban planners convened to explore potential (and radical) new methods to incorporate water into New Orleans’ rebuilding and future hurricane prevention techniques. According to David Waggonner III of Waggonner and Ball Architects, “the trick is … to find ways of reintroducing soils in ways to reduce subsidence, and in finding ways of transforming the canals into spaces attractive to the public.” In addition, the delegation will air out the unprecedented idea of manufacturing islands around Lake Ponchartrain which will protect levees and buffer against storm surges, as well as provide public parks and recreational areas.

More importanly, the article underscores the imperative nature of innovation and private investment in our rebuilding efforts. Though New Orleans, and the Gulf Coast as a whole, could not have overcome Katrina and Rita without government aid, we must develop new methods to combat hurricanes and prevent catastrophic loss, rather than merely have the government dole out billions to help us rebuild.

Incorporating scientific innovation and private investment is absolutely necessary. Katrina showed us that we must focus on preventing or alleviating the impact of hurricanes, and only by investing in new ideas can we abolish the status quo and accomplish this.