Panel: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Katrina
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Katrina decimated much of the Gulf Coast, a panel of Smith College faculty will analyze the multiple forces that contributed to the rapid deterioration of the affected areas, New Orleans in particular.
Experts from the fields of geology, engineering, government and landscape studies will address the question “What lessons can we learn from this disaster?” The event, on Friday, Sept. 9, at 4:15 p.m. in the Weinstein Auditorium of Wright Hall, is free and open to the public.
Panelists will include H. Robert Burger, the Achilles Professor of Geology; Andrew J. Guswa, assistant professor of engineering; Donald C. Baumer, professor of government; and Nina J. Antonetti, landscape studies lecturer.
Burger will explain the major threats posed by hurricanes and focus on questions of vulnerability: hurricane frequency and practices by coastal residents and governments that increase exposure to danger.
Guswa, a civil and environmental engineer, will talk about the failure of flood control structures, such as levees, and flood mitigation through reconstruction of coastal wetlands and barrier islands. Guswa’s research focuses on environmental fluid mechanics and hydrology.
Baumer, co-author of the book “Politics and Public Policy” and an environmental policy instructor, will focus on budgetary politics at the national level and how they may have played into the crisis.
Landscape and architectural historian Antonetti will discuss the history of New Orleans. She will look at such issues as predictability, preparedness and vulnerability of that urban area. Antonetti is currently writing a book “Socialized Landscapes: Private Squalor and Public Affluence.”
Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation’s foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country.
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