Full course description
In September 2008, Hurricane Ike caused massive damage to residential structures on Galveston Island, Texas, including four public housing developments. Four months later, the Galveston Housing Authority demolished the damaged developments, resulting in a loss of 569 units. Housing advocates called for replacing the units as quickly as possible post-disaster, while opponents of reconstruction expressed concerns with re-concentrating poverty. Another group wanted to see the demolished developments replaced with mixed-income housing, claiming it would help to revitalize the island’s urban core neighborhoods. All parties claimed to speak for the poor. This case study highlights post-disaster challenges and opportunities, encouraging readers to ask who benefits from recovery efforts and who bears the costs.