Occurrence of natural disasters provides the chance to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of modern urban planning because it is during this period that programs and social policies are put to the test. Catastrophes yield valuable information as it serves as a catalyst in reproduction or exacerbation of inequality.
For sure, modern urban planning has made available many assistance programs and that it has contributed valuably to the limitation of unmindful, unrestricted and unabated transformation of areas to built environments. Thanks to the development of modern urban planning, several contingency measures in cases of disasters are available to the community today. However, it is still plagued by one major flaw and that is the fact that discriminatory practices persists in many plans and programs. Take for example the Federal assistance programs made available after the Alto earthquake. While the mere existence of the program is laudable, it was too restrictive that it failed in providing the necessary housing and recovery assistance it should have provided to all people irrespective of class, race and gender. It only succeeded in marginalizing African and Mexican Americans socially, politically and culturally by discriminatory remarks and low-quality service provision.
Hurricane Katrina's battering of New Orleans serve to highlight the deeply rooted discriminatory tendencies of policies and programs. There was a discernible disparity in the urban planning system enforced by predominantly white government authorities to the predominantly black. In his interviews with those affected by the hurricane, Barnshaw (2005) reported that there were indeed many instances of discriminatory practices such as denial of service and inappropriate statements. Contingency systems such as evacuation, security and temporary shelters for the afflicted were limited and unorganized. Authorities were also reported to have disappeared immediately when news of the levee broke out. Majority of the sheltered population of New Orleans is working-class African-American while the governing and enforcing bodies were predominantly white.
One may argue that the calamity was indeed unfortunate but in the chaos during that time, nobody can expect to receive aid immediately, efficiently and effectively. The point is that the authorities have long issued warnings regarding these types of events and no governing body have taken this seriously especially in White American governed working-class African American dominated New Orleans. While affluent tenants of Florida receive government funding for beach nourishment and armouring, residents of New Orleans suffer from neglect due to the class and race difference.
Whosoever claims that modern urban planning emerged as a response to the problematic contemporary social setting can look into societies where it has been implemented. Has modern urban planning improved the current situation Our discussion on the plight of the African-Americans in New Orleans, which should supposedly have urban planning programs installed, is but a small piece of the evidence that there is still much room for improvement.
Urban planning has only served to deepen the divide with regards to class and race by allocating ethnic