What about life after Ike? Is it back to “business as usual,” waiting for the next hurricane, hoping that it will strike somewhere else? Or do we regroup, and start organizing and planning, for a different kind of Houston, a city much more resilient to the forces of nature?
Urban experts agree that “sustainability” will define the great cities of the 21st century. Mother Nature has sent us a stern warning. In no uncertain terms, Ike, not really “the big one,” is serving to redefine “sustainability” — in local Houston terms the ability to stay in business after a major storm.
Yet with the same vision and fortitude that built the Houston Ship Channel we can become like Amsterdam — a city recognized for its bold actions to overcome its vulnerability to flooding and storms.
To ensure this future as a thriving coastal city, we must make three major investments — in flood control, more stringent building standards and in a “hurricane-ready” electrical power distribution network.
What would we do without urban experts? Does Houston really want to “become like Amsterdam”?
You know how the councilman/mayoral-wannabe wants to fix electrical power distribution:
Houston City Council member Peter Brown is on a mission to clean up Houston’s scenic view. He says the city has been littered with overhead power poles that only taint Houston’s beauty. Brown says power companies like CenterPoint Energy should look at burying their cables or installing their untility poles on easements behind properties instead of locating them directly in front of homes and businesses.
CenterPoint spokesperson Alicia Dixon tells The Insite their company is more than willing to work with the council member and the community. She says however underground utility lines are 15 times more expensive than overhead. She says the extra expense would be passed on to the consumer and or the developer.
Previously, he objected to power lines because they littered his view. Now he can mold his argument around disaster-preparedness; the problem, however, is that it’s extremely cost-prohibitive. And while passed-on cost isn’t an issue for the wealthy councilman, fifteen-times more expensive will be an issue for folks of more average means.
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