Architects Weigh In on Rebuilding

Unlike Chicago and San Francisco, which were brash young centers of economic expansion before the Great Fire of 1871 and the earthquake of 1906, New Orleans is, by American standards, an ancient city with a declining economy. The population shrank by 150,000 from 1960 to 2000, and 28 percent lived below the poverty level, more than twice the national average. Most energy corporation headquarters have moved away. Its location below sea level raises the possibility that another catastrophic flood could hit the city. Yet the suggestion among some that the city should be abandoned has met with fierce opposition. Most who cherish the city for its cultural legacy and its vital place in the nation's economy, especially due to its ports, want to concentrate instead on effective rebuilding. Many questions remain unanswered, not least being how reconstruction can help turn around the city's economic fortunes, and how can important architecture be saved. Here's what several designers have to say:

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