Skip to main content

Urban Resiliency for the Gulf Region: Infrastructure and Resiliency Advisory Committee Engages NOLA

Published Jun 12, 2019 by Chase Kronzer

As the region braces for the 2019 hurricane season, the Partnership continues its work to build a more resilient Houston. A delegation representing the Infrastructure and Resiliency Advisory Committee recently met with the Greater New Orleans, Inc., the Partnership’s counterpart in New Orleans,  to engage in an exchange on post-disaster recovery and resiliency.

As the region braces for the 2019 hurricane season, the Partnership continues its work to build a more resilient Houston. A delegation representing the Infrastructure and Resiliency Advisory Committee recently met with the Greater New Orleans, Inc., the Partnership’s counterpart in New Orleans, to engage in an exchange on post-disaster recovery and resiliency.

Severe weather events that have struck both cities have exposed gaps in flood mitigation infrastructure and have compelled the public and private sector to work together to not only prepare for the next storm, but also build a region’s resiliency and create an environment for long-term economic prosperity. 

The Partnership approached this meeting with a focus on furthering its mission of creating infrastructure that protects the economy and people from future storms, by learning about what’s working for our neighboring Gulf Coast city.  

Three key points from the delegation’s trip highlight measures both cities need to consider as they build more resilient cities.

3 Considerations When Building Resilient Cities

Develop community buy-in when rebuilding and planning

In order for long-term resiliency efforts to be successful, community trust and cooperation must be achieved and maintained. Solutions should be adaptive to the evolving needs of the community so that the region can respond well to various shocks and stresses. Ask the right questions and understand the needs of impacted communities so that the proper project scope can be developed at the outset.

Prioritize long-term economic and resiliency planning

From curb to coast, investment in grey and nature-based infrastructure are critical to economic and environmental stability. Decision-makers should consider how projects are approached to include resiliency measures that also further the economic viability of the region.

Recognize implementation challenges and vital points for collaboration

Solutions should focus on system-wide implementation rather than individual projects. Political challenges should not stand in the way of progress. Also, consider both traditional and nontraditional funding sources to address long-term needs.

These findings came from various panels and tours of gray and green resilience infrastructure projects throughout the city led by the City of New Orleans Resilience Office, including a drainage pump station managed by Jacobs and the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans and a green detention system being constructed by Stantec.

The Partnership thanks Greater New Orleans, Inc. and their representatives from the business community and government agencies who participated in these meetings. We appreciate the productive conversation and look forward to continuing the dialogue between our two cities as we advance Gulf Coast resilience together. 

Related News


Lawmakers Anticipate COVID-19 Implications for Upcoming Legislative Session

Texas lawmakers anticipate the global pandemic will have implications for the 87th Texas legislative session, potentially impacting issues such as the state budget as well as health care costs.  Three state lawmakers discussed the upcoming legislative session during the Partnership's Future of Texas Business Resource Group virtual event on July 10. Partnership Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy Lindsay Munoz moderated the discussion, featuring: State Senator Nathan Johnson of Senate District 16 Texas House Public Health Committee Chair Senfronia Thompson of House District 141 Texas House County Affairs Committee Chair Garnet Coleman of House District 147 COVID-19  The panel discussed Texas' response to the pandemic. Senator Johnson laid out the importance of moving through the rise in confirmed cases and improving contact tracing programs. Representative Coleman noted the importance of collecting data on the virus' impact on racial and ethnic groups across Texas. Representative Thompson highlighted how the virus has emphasized racial and socioeconomic disparities. Access to Health and Health Care In response to COVID-19 and the state's ongoing health needs, these legislators discussed proposals to improve Texans' access to care. Senator Johnson pointed to methods of investing in the social determinants of health to lower health care costs. Concerning access to mental and public health care, Representative Thompson and Representative Coleman discussed ensuring the funding for the health care safety net, including the 1115 Waiver and DSRIP funding. The panel of legislators agreed that the state should approach health care issues as an investment. They discussed a variety of methods to protect access to care and address the population of individuals between the 100 percent and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level who need affordable, quality care. State Budget While the impact of COVID-19 on the state budget is still being calculated, legislators anticipate that the next biennial budget will involve significant reductions. Representative Thompson discussed potential reductions to state health care services. She also noted the importance of protecting public education funding. Regarding the transformational school finance reform legislation passed last session, Representative Thompson said, "House Bill 3 was the first time that we did not fund public education based on zip codes." In comparison to the Great Recession state budget of 2011, Representative Coleman said that "We have been able to crawl out of holes before, but this one is different." It is possible that legislators may consider alternative revenue sources, including re-examining the tax structure for exemptions.  The state lawmakers concluded that we will have a much clearer picture of the state budget in the months approaching session, which begins January 12, 2021, as federal stimulus funds flow into the state and the effects of the pandemic continue.  Future of Texas presentations are open to Partnership members. Members also have ongoing access to a recording of the presentation. Learn more about membership.  Learn what other Texas lawmakers anticipate for the upcoming legislative session here. See the Partnership’s COVID-19 Business Resource page for the latest updates and guidance. Learn more about the Future of Texas Business Resource Group. 
Read More

Governor Abbott and Judge Hidalgo Issue New COVID-19 Orders

This morning, Governor Greg Abbott announced a change to certain elements of the Reopen Texas plan.  Per Governor Abbott’s order, effective at noon today, all bars and similar establishments must close. These businesses may remain open for delivery and take-out. Beginning Monday, June 29, restaurants may remain open for dine-in service, but at a capacity not to exceed 50 percent of total listed indoor occupancy. Previously, restaurants were allowed to operate at 75 percent of capacity. Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions, and rafting and tubing businesses must close. The governor’s executive order can be found here.   In Harris County today, Judge Hidalgo announced a change in the COVID-19 threat level system, which advises county residents on the local level of transmission. Judge Hidalgo raised the threat level from Level 2, “significant and uncontrolled level of COVID-19”, to Level 1, meaning that “residents should minimize contacts with others wherever possible and avoid leaving home except for the most essential needs.” Judge Hidalgo also issued a Stay Home advisory, which encourages residents to remain at home whenever possible. These measures signal that the Houston region is at an inflection point, and we must join together to stop the spread. We believe that residents across the region should stay home as much as possible. This should include office workers who are back in the workplace but could effectively work from home. We encourage employers to strongly consider returning to a work-from-home model where it is practical. We also ask companies to remind their employees that their actions when out in public – away from the workplace – will likely determine whether the virus enters the workplace. Maintaining social distancing, wearing masks in public spaces and washing hands are all key to stopping the spread of the coronavirus at this critical moment. Managing Positive COVID-19 Cases A reminder that if someone in the workplace does test positive, we have developed a protocols document that helps address the actions businesses should take to mitigate the risk to others. Get the latest information on Governor Abbott's order, industry best practices for reopening, and the Partnership's work safe principles here. Visit the Partnership's COVID-19 Resource page for updates, guidance for employers and more information.
Read More

Related Events


State of the Houston Region

How will the greater Houston region continue to respond to COVID-19? Join the Greater Houston Partnership as we discuss the State of the Houston Region. This virtual event will focus on the region's response to COVID…

Learn More
Learn More
Executive Partners