The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) called for the creation of an independent, federally funded reconstruction advisory panel for New Orleans to serve as the primary advisor to local officials on the rebuilding of the city and immediate surrounding areas. The panel should be comprised of technical experts who would provide an objective review of all design and construction issues relating to the reconstruction and would be fully integrated with any federal agency involved in these efforts.

As proposed, the New Orleans Reconstruction Advisory Panel charter would be as follows:

  • The federally sponsored and funded advisory panel will serve as primary advisor to the Mayor of New Orleans and affected parish, city and state governments on the rebuilding of the city;
  • The panel will consist of experts from engineering, architecture, planning and other design and construction related fields;
  • The recommendations of the panel will include strategies to minimize the impact of future storm events and other hazards;
  • The primary goal will be to maintain and improve the way of life for the citizens of the metropolitan New Orleans area;
  • The focus of the panel will be on incorporating mitigative and sustainable measures into the reconstruction efforts;
  • The panel will serve as link to federal agencies working in support of the reconstruction effort; and
  • The panel will function in an advisory capacity only and will have no authority to mandate solutions.

The panel concept was developed with leading non-governmental organizations at a meeting held on September 6 in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by ASCE and The Infrastructure Security Partnership, the roundtable meeting was held to coordinate a unified response by the engineering, design and construction community to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The Infrastructure Security Partnership (TISP) was established following the tragic events of September 11, 2001 as a forum for U.S.-based public and private sector non-profit organizations to collaborate on issues regarding the security of the nation's built environment, including resilience to natural and man-made disasters through effective and efficient planning, design, construction and operation. Membership includes more than 200 organizations and agencies representing more than 2 million individuals and firms.

Founded in 1852, ASCE represents more than 137,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. The society celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2002.

Source: ASCE, Sept. 9, 2005