Professor Blakely Australian media coverage

18 April 2007

April 4, 2007: Sydney Ideas lecture/Professor Ed Blakely
  • Story and picture in the Inner West Courier, Tuesday, March 27,  2007. Pointer to Sydney Ideas lecture. (Media clip attached.)  
  • Mention in “The Planner” in  The Sydney Morning Herald’s  Spectrum on Saturday, March 31,  2007.
  • Feature story in “The WeekendAustralian’s” Enquirer section on  Saturday, March 31, 2007. Tag: “Ed Blakely will speak at Sydney Ideas, the  University of Sydney’s international public lecture series next Wednesday.”  Plus pointer to Sydney Ideas website. Story:,20867,21476029-2703,00.html 
  • Live 15-minute interview with Fran  Kelly on Radio National Breakfast on Tuesday, April 3, 2007. Mentioned time  and place of lecture and the University of Sydney. Podcast: 
  • Interview with Mark Colvin on PM  on Radio National and ABC 702. Tuesday, April 3, 2007. Transcript: 
  • Story and picture in The Sydney MorningHerald’s “Radar” – “Talk to Me” column.  Wednesday, April 4, 2007. (Media clip attached).  
  • Hour interview with The  Conversation Hour’s Richard Fidler on ABC 702 (Sydney) and ABC 612 (Brisbane).  Wednesday, April 4, 2007. Podcast: 
  • Interview with SBS Radio’s World  View current affairs show. Wednesday, April 4, 2007.  
  • Interview with SBS TV World news.  Wednesday, April 4, 2007.
  • Interview and story with The Wentworth Courier. Thursday, April  5, 2007. (Scheduled to be published April 11, 2007.)

Sydney Morning Herald 04/04/2007
Page: 6 Radar
Region: Sydney Circulation: 211990

University of Sydney professor Edward J. Blakely heads the reconstruction effort in New Orleans.

What was the initial devastation like?
I was not here. But it was horrific.

You say New Orleans is a "mess when it comes to a national government response".
We have not received enough money to complete a single public building [despite] pledges. Each time we send in a project request it is approved and then disallowed by another agency for different reasons each time. So, effectively, New Orleans has no money from higher levels of government. But the community is bouncing back. Citizens have restored parks, cut the grass and trimmed the trees with no government funds.

What is your strategy for rebuilding New Orleans?
I am borrowing money from Wall Street and doing a set of strategic and visible projects. I have already raised nearly $US1
billion ($1.2 billion). I am selling everything ... If we have two parks within 800 metres, I am selling one of them. If we have a closed school with no future use, I plan to ask the school board to lease it to us for 40 years; I will put housing on it on a 35-year lease and pocket the difference. I have a plan that allows the neighbour of a vacant or abandoned house to buy it for half the appraised value and put a new house on it or expand their old house.

Do you think some people might object to selling such assets to fund rebuilding?
This will be hard to swallow when people think the federal government promised them money for rebuilding - Who is the
Australian selling our buildings and parks?"

What Is New Orleans like?
It is a bit like camping out in the Kimberley; it looks great but the crocs can get you any second.

Has anyone tried to take financial advantage of New Orleans's state, such as real estate speculators?
Yes, of course. They are all over the place like locusts.

You were involved in the recovery efforts in New York after September 11, 2001. How does New Orleans compare to that?
There is no real comparison. [In New Orleans] the entire city was nearly wiped out and can be again. No system will save the city unless
the surrounding marshlands are restored.

Do you have any views about how the Bush administration has dealt with the recovery efforts?
I do but not for publication.

Interview by Charles Purcell

Inner Western Suburbs Courier 27/03/2007
Page: 30 General News
Region: Sydney Circulation: 76757

Professor to introduce the `new' New Orleans The head of the New Orleans reconstruction team, Professor Ed Blakely, will share an insight into the recovery of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina when he speaks at Sydney Ideas, the University of Sydney's international public lecture series, on April 4.

Professor Blakely, who is also the Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Sydney, was appointed as the leader of a five-person team to coordinate the federal, state and local agencies involved in the recovery effort.

He has spent the past three months on the front-line in New Orleans. "New Orleans is recovering and the city is alive," Professor Blakely said. "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, has been dubbed the "recovery star".

Professor Blakely said he was embarking on a "bold new strategy" for reconstructing the remarkable American city, one that "contradicts years of past corruption and wasteful planning".

The Sydney ideas lecture, titled "The New Orleans comeback", will be co-presented with the University of Sydney's Faculty
of Architecture, Design and Planning.

Professor Blakely will give an insider's view into how the city is fairing - politically, socially and economically - and will reveal what has been done since the hurricane and what still needs to be done.

Professor Blakely has been at the forefront of urban design and planning, worldwide, for most of his career.

He was instrumental in the recovery process in New York City after September 11, and was also involved in the recovery efforts
in Oakland following the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. He was also appointed by the former NSW premier, Bob Carr, to lead the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy, theState's 30-year plan for Sydney.

Phone: 02 935