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September 16, 2005

Feds Plan Temporary Cities for Evacuees

That's the headline of this AP story posted at Drudge. The AP's article begins with this mental exercise:

Imagine building a city from scratch. Now, imagine doing it in just a few months - dozens of times over.
The solution is mind-boggling in its scope and complexity: Build dozens of temporary cities of up to 25,000 homes from the ground up. The ambitious resettlement plan is unprecedented in U.S. history, experts say, and raises huge logistical questions that, in most cases, have yet to be answered - or even anticipated.
The settlements would range from 2,000 to 25,000 units - mostly prefabricated houses and mobile homes - arranged in loose street grids. They will ideally be placed within a short drive of pre- existing shopping centers, grocery stores and gas stations to make life easier for evacuees.
Last fall, I developed group site housing plans for FEMA which basically amounted to the construction of temporary cities with the full range of services for up to 150,000 people.

In one of my first blog posts over a year ago, I discussed my work as Hurricane Ivan approached the Gulf Coast. I wrote:

Ivan the Terrible is heading somewhere; where exactly, only God knows. Pray it doesn't hit New Orleans.
The initial plan was to construct the homes in 30-45 days of a catastrophic event, but we quickly realized this schedule was not realistic. The plans were revised to allow 60-90 days for construction. The plans were put to the test by FEMA with Hurricane Pam - a simulated Cat V hurricane directly hitting New Orleans.

FEMA called earlier this week. They requested my cell phone number and told me I'm on standby - ready to deploy with 48 hours notice for a minimum 3 month assingment. They asked for my resume so they would know how to best place me. I'm a little nervous. I didn't imagine last summer when writing the plans that a year later I might have a hand in implementing them.

Posted by Rick at September 16, 2005 05:07 PM

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Tracked on September 16, 2005 11:17 PM



I have employees in the Pascagoula area, where the shipyard is the major employer. There's a problem that people can't get back to work if they don't have a place to live. Hugh Hewitt's suggestion of having people relocate out of the area until it's rebuilt ignores the questions of where the rebuilders are going to live and how people are supposed to coordinate with their insurance agents and contractors if they're not in the area? Besides, dispersing the workforce won't help the shipyard and other businesses reopen faster so people can have a real income again. Fortunately, the big companies like Northrop Grumman are providing salary continuation for the nonce.

I know that some folks working with their insurance companies to rebuild their homes plan to start with a trailer on their own lot as shelter while the construction goes on. It would be ironic if they couldn't get the trailers they need because FEMA cornered the market.

I have post-hurricane pictures up at

Posted by: Kate at September 16, 2005 10:09 PM