Australian "recovery czar" of New Orleans Ed Blakely at Sydney Ideas

27 March 2007

New Orleans, says Professor Blakely (above),
New Orleans, says Professor Blakely (above), "is alive, but there are serious problems to deal with.

The head of the New Orleans reconstruction team, Professor Ed Blakely, will givereveal his bold new plan for New Orleans post-hurricane "Katrina" when he speaks at Sydney Ideas, the University of Sydney's international public lecture series, next Wednesday, 4 April, 2007.

Ed Blakely, who is also the Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Sydney, was appointed last December to lead a five-person team to coordinate the Federal, State and local bodies involved in the recovery effort and has spent the past three months on the frontline in New Orleans.

"New Orleans is recovering and the city is alive," says Professor Blakely. "But there are many serious problems to deal with. While basic services such as water and sewer are back, the schools are a shambles due to the combination of the storm and woeful leadership."

Professor Blakely, who is one of the world's leading experts in reconstruction and urban and regional planning and has been dubbed the "recovery czar", says he is embarking on a "bold new strategy" for reconstructing this unique American city, one "that contradicts years of past corruption and wasteful planning."

In his Sydney Ideas lecture "The New Orleans Comeback" co-presented with the University of Sydney's Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, Professor Blakely promises to give an insider's view into how the city is fairing - politically, socially and economically - and will reveal what has been done since the devastating mishandling after hurricane "Katrina" and what still needs to be done.

Californian born and bred Ed Blakely has been at the forefront of urban design and planning worldwide for most of his career and is the namesake of the University of California's Edward J. Blakely Center for Sustainable Urban Development. (He is a former student there and is also a member of its sporting Hall of Fame - he played quarterback for the undefeated football team during his time at the University.)

Professor Blakely was instrumental in the recovery process in New York City, post September 11, and was also involved in the recovery efforts in Oakland following the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. He was appointed by the former NSW Premier Bob Carr to head up the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy, NSW's 30-year plan for Sydney. Since joining the city of New Orleans, Professor Blakely, maintains his position with the University of Sydney where he teaches and continues his research work into global warming.

Professor Blakely will be introduced at Sydney Ideas by Professor Warren Julian, the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Design at the University of Sydney.

SydneyIdeas event details:

What: "The New Orleans Comeback": Professor Ed Blakely at Sydney Ideas, the University of Sydney's international public lecture series.

When: 6.30pm, Wednesday, 4 April, 2007

Where: The Seymour Theatre Centre, Cnr Cleveland St and City Rd, The University of Sydney.

Cost: $20/$15 concession. A limited number of free tickets are available for University of Sydney staff and students. (Please check with Seymour Centre box office for availability.)

Bookings: (02) 9351 7940

For more information:

For media enquiries or to RSVP to attend Professor Ed Blakely's Sydney Ideas lecture, please contact Katrina O'Brien on (02) 9036 7842 or

Contact: Katrina O'Brien

Phone: 02 9036 7842

Email: 444b2052352613411910123b2f793c0d42762c3b