ESPM 50 - Property, Hurricane Katrina and rebuilding New OrleansDebates concerning how to rebuild New Orleans after Katrina illustrate C.B. MacPherson’s point that property rights are complex and contested social processes. Since 2005, many different interest groups have sought to shape rebuilding plans and on the ground reality in New Orleans. Decision-makers and interest groups from all perspectives have weighed the environmental and social costs, benefits and risks associated with levee improvement, wetland restoration, and other aspects of water management against different approaches to economic development. Debates over how to rebuild have involved struggles over control and use rights to the most valuable natural resource in New Orleans – land. In January 2006, Mayor Ray Nagin appointed the “Bring New Orleans Back Commission,” to address how and where to rebuild. Composed largely of city government officials and business interests, the Commission sought to condemn as many as 5000 private homes and apartments that they deemed to be public health and safety hazards. Critics contended that the Commission sought to prevent the return of residents of the Lower 9th
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