Finding a Place for the Commonplace: Hurricane Katrina, Communities, and Preservation Law:


The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina drew attention to commonplace landscape markers that create for a community a sense of place—that connection between people and places crucial to a sense of corporate and individual identity and heritage. There is a legal context for sense of place within extant federal preservation legislation. Nevertheless, many such markers with special meanings for residents have been overlooked in federal documentation, the cornerstone of which is the National Register of Historic Places. Grassroots efforts and national media coverage have helped forge a niche for sense of place within the recovery plans and policy emerging in the affected region. However, it is unclear whether this will carry over into practice. In terms of long-term policy shifts, remedying the shortcomings highlighted by Katrina may require changes to the National Historic Preservation Act and its associated guidelines and regulations, or it may entail a new approach altogether.

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