The Inevitable City: The Resurgence of New Orleans and the Future of Urban America

Scott Cowen, with Betsy Seifter. Palgrave Macmillan, $27 (256p) ISBN 978-1-137-27886-9
After Hurricane Katrina, most of Tulane University lay paralyzed and underwater. Cowen, president of Tulane at the time, led a charge to dramatically refashion the university, and the surrounding city, with a mission of social service and responsibility. In forthright and upbeat fashion, Cowan details the development of that mission, and the sometimes-controversial renewal plan he helped steer with civic and business leaders. Facing unprecedented devastation and a shockingly slow and inadequate government response, Cowen and company were forced to make “hard call[s]” that often met with resistance from, among others, members and representatives of an understandably suspicious population of poor, mostly African-American residents. The university soon restructured and mobilized its academic departments, such as the School of Architecture, bringing services and expertise to blighted areas of the city, and encouraging undergraduates (via a new academic requirement) to actively engage neighborhoods through the Center for Public Service. Part memoir, part leadership study, the book offers 10 principles for rebuilding American cities. Given Cowen’s central role in the regeneration of New Orleans, this is a bird’s-eye view that’s sure to appeal to policy makers, activists, and corporate managers. In addition, Cowen acknowledges historical patterns that feed both the city’s character and the frictions it faces as a diverse but still unequal society. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 06/10/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-137-46424-8
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-137-28013-8
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