- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Broadmoor Success in New Orleans Offers Lessons for Afghanistan

| Spring 2010

When the Belfer Center's Broadmoor Project launched in October 2006, a year after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans' Broadmoor neighborhood, it was difficult to imagine how much progress would be possible. But the project's partnership between Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) students and the Broadmoor community has delivered impressive results and invaluable lessons to the neighborhood and beyond.

Doug Ahlers, director of the Broadmoor Project and an adjunct senior fellow at the Belfer Center, spent several weeks in New Orleans earlier this year supervising six Harvard Kennedy School and six Harvard Business school students. Through the drive and determination of its residents, and with the assistance of the students, 85 percent of structures are now rebuilt and a new school recently opened.

"While our work in Broadmoor is not complete, we are at the point where we can say that the Broadmoor Project has successfully orchestrated the post-disaster reconstruction of a community," Ahlers said. "The lessons learned from the Broadmoor Project are applicable to other post-disaster reconstructions, but also to post-conflict reconstruction projects." Rebecca  Hummel, HKS MPP '07, is one example of how the lessons from Broadmoor are being used elsewhere-this time in Afghanistan. Hummel participated in the Broadmoor Project from 2006 2007, working with community leaders to articulate and design a post-Katrina redevelopment plan. This experience shaped much of her post-Harvard Kennedy School work.

After working at the Department of State's Office of Iranian Affairs with a focus on counter-terrorism (2007-2009), Hummel returned to the type of work that captured her interest in New Orleans: local, communitydriven approaches to solving problems and making communities stronger. She now looks at global communities with USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives in Afghanistan. She is a field program manager for USAID's Afghanistan Stabilization Initiative, which has a community-based approach of targeted activities-designed in close collaboration with local stakeholders-in order to understand and mitigate the root causes of instability in those areas.

"Just as the approach for community redevelopment in New Orleans is based on specific dynamics on the ground in the Broadmoor neighborhood," Hummel said, "so is the stabilization programming approach with the Office of Transition Initiatives in Afghanistan developed and designed to meet the unique needs of each situation all they way down the district and village levels."

For more information on this publication: Please contact the Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Maclin, Beth. Broadmoor Success in New Orleans Offers Lessons for Afghanistan.” Belfer Center Newsletter (Spring 2010).

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