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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Study Recommends Public-Private Partnership and Strategic Approach to Redeveloping New Orleans' Economy

New Orleans should craft a comprehensive economic redevelopment plan that combines public- and private-sector funding with a centralized structure, according to a study issued today by the RAND Corp.

Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent failures of levees in New Orleans in August 2005 devastated the city's economy in addition to destroying buildings and causing more than 1,800 deaths. Even before the storm, the city's population was declining and the economy was not robust, which complicated recovery efforts, according to the study.

The Horizon Initiative, a private-sector organization formed in 2006 to help New Orleans' economic recovery, asked the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute (RGSPI) to recommend the most effective organizational and strategic approaches to revitalizing the city's economy.

“This is a unique opportunity to not only repair the damage from the storms, but also address some pre-existing problems, in a comprehensive way, to forge a stronger, more vibrant economy for the city of New Orleans and the surrounding region,” says Kevin McCarthy, author of the report and a senior social scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

The study is not a detailed redevelopment plan, but provides recommendations for designing an effective organizational structure for those efforts.

RGSPI, a partnership between RAND and seven universities in the Gulf States region, examined 17 other cities' economic development efforts. The analysis showed that in many cases, economic development work was spread across a range of different agencies without a common development strategy, and in some cases, with competing messages. The most successful efforts incorporated three key elements: a comprehensive design, an appropriate organization, and an effective implementation plan.

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