Should We Always Rebuild? At What Point Should We Stop Rebuilding?

Yes, but that’s not exactly a “shall we pay rebuild a city 10km away?” kind of event.

That it is not… However. The volcano about which I speak is on this list of 16 volcanos that the U.N. thinks has “destructive eruptions and proximity to populated areas”

Though in fairness so is Vesuvius.

To argue against my own initial position, if we ignore the cost in human lives, from a strictly economic perspective, the offsets from rebuilding a devastated area might actually be more than the cost of rebuilding.

Just to take the example of New Orleans after Katrina, in the short term, this was devastating to the economy, but on a longer timeline, there was actually a great benefit to rebuilding. New car sales were up. Building companies had homes to build. The higher cost for gas spurred the development of additional refineries and made the burgeoning clean energy sector economically viable. Builders had jobs and discretionary income, income they were taxed on. People have a place to go and spend tourism dollars. Book airline flights, etc. If New Orleans was never rebuilt this wouldn’t have happened.

In that same vein, with the expected impact of Harvey being around $30 billion, analysts are already expecting their to actually be a bump in national GDP from Harvey in Houston post Q3 due to car sales and home building.


But those costs would still be incurred if we moved Houston 10 miles down the road.

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I thought this was gonna be an Afghanistan thread based on the title and the contrast between what I expected and what I got amuses me.

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Glad to amuse :slight_smile:

And so we move it 10 miles the next disaster.

while ( city is wrecked by storm == true ){
rebuild city 10 miles away from path

Sounds like Springfield.


At what point should Venice be allowed to become Atlantis?

Houses are built or already exist in shitty places, because the land is cheap, and people buy them because that’s what they can afford. Infrastructure maintenance gets de-funded, and storm drains crack & fill with debris, (or remain incomplete). Broken pumps aren’t repaired. etc. etc. And when strict building codes are implemented in the aftermath of a disaster everyone forgets after a while, and tries to loosen them.

I bet disaster prone regions could benefit from a society that values infrastructure, long-term planning and regulation, and fellow citizens well-being regardless of wealth, instead of just profit.


Guys, the “combo deal” is literally exactly what we already have for public facilities. We don’t just throw money at places to rebuild exactly as they were before. You can also do hazard mitigation, relocation, an alternate project… maybe educate yourselves on what the assistance IS before you start trying to figure out how it should change?

As for private residences… most people think FEMA pays for a lot more than they actually do. This is why everyone gets pissed at FEMA when a flood takes out their house and they end up only getting $5k. The national flood insurance program charges by risk level, and high risk areas already have to pay a lot… and if you’re in a special flood hazard area and you DON’T have insurance, FEMA will still treat you like you did. Because you were required to.

Objectively, everyone should relocate out of flood plains and other at-risk areas. Practically, a lot of people can’t without help. And, SURPRISE, there ARE relocation programs to try to get people out of some of these flood plains (along the Mississippi river, for instance), but they are logistically difficult because it’s not just a matter of buying someone’s house… you have to relocate entire towns and the industries that employ these people, too.

Basically, whether to rebuild (and make resiliency upgrades) comes down to cost-benefit analysis, and you might be surprised at the astronomical cost of the alternative. How much do you think relocating 3.5 Puerto Ricans would cost, long term? How about 6.5 million southeastern Texans?


Churba, I assume you are referring to Brisbane/South East Queensland? If so, we sort of did both after 2011. In Brisbane, buildings did get raised up on stilts in flood prone areas. The local council also improved their flood maps so you could at least make an informed choice when buying property. However, upstream in the Lockyer valley, Grantham (a small town) got wiped out. Rather than rebuilding, the state government offered residents the chance to swap their property for land on higher ground. I think about 70-80% of people took them up on it.

I suppose it all comes down to cost and complexity. Moving a small town surrounded by available empty land? Easy. Moving parts or all of a crowded city where land values are high and space is at a premium? Probably better to rebuild with disaster in mind.

I am, and I know. I wasn’t really getting too far into detail on the actual plans, because I felt they were a little beside the point for what I was saying. And a friend of mine lived in Grantham, they took the offer - in fact, they turned some of the salvage from their old place into parts of their new place.

Personally, I spent a few days rolling around town with mates in 4X4s and The Mighty Van, helping pull folks cars out of floodwater, cruising around in tinnies getting people and pets to dry land, here in the city. It wasn’t much in the grand scheme of things, and we weren’t an enormous help, but it was something, and I helped with the cleanups around town, mostly southside.

You’re right, though, it’s a very situational thing. Sometimes, rebuilding isn’t possible in the same place, no matter what you do, and when that’s the case, you work around it.

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