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Presentation to Bellagio fellowship, July 2010 on New Orleans as a Prophetic City

Presentation to Bellagio fellowship, July 2010 on New Orleans as a Prophetic City

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  • Quiz for every Torontonian: who is this? Saw city as a complex adaptive system--an ecology. Cautioned me: what are we going to do about New Orleans…..? Bureaucrat. New Orleans will do something about New Orleans. Complex mix of factors: not just the levees breaking.
  • Organic: growing in an interconnected way….and can evolve depending on diverse variable --flexibly depending on the feedback….dependent connective tissue that links the overal system
  • Or breaking down ---In a connected way --cities mimic natural systems---- they evolve, grow, and decay in an organic way. New Orleans --like every city --is a living city AND a dying city ----
  • Those were isolated examples but in any ecosystem these overlay--- many. And we can construct systems in a way that also have the organic capacity to adapt --what is this?
  • Great challenge of NOLA: LIVING WITH WATER. Previous reliance in engineered solutions: levees. Coastal erosion etc.
  • 80 % of the city, 180,000 housing units. ‘Natural’ Disaster? WHAT FLOODED : River or Lake? Sea level, Rich or poor, White or black. Old or new. Federal highways. Sprawl.
  • Becomes a ‘blogger’ -starts a visual record of the destruction of the architectural and domestic diversity/vernacular of the city. Social media revolution in New Orleans: first-hand ‘anecdotal evidence’, on the scene reporting national main stream media realize more reliable source. BLOGGERS and Social Media become very dynamic --but not just about sitting at a computer….
  • Karen Gadbois. Evacuated on the floor of her van mid course chemotherapy. Dogs. Comes back and starts to see houses beng slated for demolition.
  • Spring 06- message boards become lifelines
  • Timolyn. Neighborhood Partnership Network: LINKS CONNECTIVE TISSUE
  • Pam Broom. Urban Agriculture.
  • Partnership between local community, growers, the university architecture school, faith community HUB
  • Father Vien: 11000 Roman Catholic vietnamese emigrated in the 1970s---
  • Resilient immigrant community -but poor, insular, hard to find links ‘connective tissue’ with other parts of the city
  • Pam Dashiell. Holy Cross Neighborhood Association: Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development. Bayou Bienvenue. Was a wetland/cyprus swamp=== now salinated ---- no access ---bringing it back
  • Matthew D White copyright  
  • Creating a resilient net of connections that feeds innovation and builds resilience
  • Interactions. Processes. Forms of ‘capital’ that interact: FEEDBACK LOOPS that allow a system to adapt and evolve.
  • The cycle continues
  • This ain’t Treme -- more typically modest, well intentioned, idiosyncratic to bridge and catalyze connection - this a Community Choir called Shade of Praise, Christmas concert 2009
  • Transcript

    • 1. New Orleans: A Prophetic City Rockefeller Study Center Bellagio July 2010
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    • 3. Cit-i-zen of citeien, cit é, city An inhabitant of a city or town; esp: one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman
    • 4. At-tach-ment Affectionate regard belonging identity ‘sense-making’ meaning opportunity choice
    • 5. Misanthropy: un-natural Patriarchy: uncontrollable Pathology: sick, a problem Theology: sinful Morality: bad Morphology: pariah Science: lab Biology: hive Physics: combustion Ecology: ecosystem Re-deem Re-mediate Re-generate Re-habilitate Re-claim Re-vitalize Re-store Re-build Re-new Re-birth
    • 6. Re-sil-ience An ability to recover or adjust easily to misfortune or change
    • 7. Definitions of Resilience Resilience Physical Science Economic Mental health Sociopolitical Social Psychology Services Civic Cultural Indigenous Environment Psychology Ecology
    • 8. Self-organization Cyclical forming/joining: feedback loops, increased differentiation and diversity hence capacity to adapt, course correct,and be resilient, non-hierarchical, non-linear
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    • 10. A ‘problem’ in a city …
    • 11. is work that still needs doing
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    • 15. Definitions of Resilience
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    • 51. What if we stopped treating symptoms of disconnection and instead focused our resources on catalyzing connections ?
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    • 54. Systems/Capital in a City Financial Social Bonding Bridging Spiritual Natural Cultural
    • 55. How prophetic before
      • Disconnected from the local
      • Public policies/investments driven by distant priorities/decision-makers
      • Degraded natural assets
      • Disrupted neighborhoods
      • Structurally supported divisions by race, ethnicity, and class
      • Export economy extractive and exploitive: oil/gas, fisheries, tourism and gambling)
      • Chronic disinvestment in infrastructure
    • 56. After: the ‘perverse opportunity’
      • Self organization emerges: education, economy, environment, neighborhoods,
      • Communities form ‘hubs’ and ‘links’
      • Cultivate ‘connective tissue’
      • No single solution, no simple answers, no outside experts with a magic bullet, scarce resources bred improvisation to create indigenous resilience to absorb the next shock….
    • 57. The cycle continues…
    • 58.
      • HOPE