Reports & Papers

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Paper

Building the Plane as You Fly It: Community Development Systems in New Orleans

April 2007

To the extent it ever existed, the network of individuals and organizations concerned with community development in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina was ineffective and inadequately supported.  The complexity of economic and social challenges facing the city overwhelmed its capacity to respond. These challenges included a declining population, stagnant economy, highly concentrated poverty, and one of the country’s highest rates of violent crime. The difficulty in establishing an effective system of community development organizations was exacerbated by the city’s changing economic structure towards a dependence on low-wage service sector employment.