Overall I got a lot out of the conference. Hearing the Dutch designers, planners and engineers gave me great hope for the future of humanity and lots of ideas for New Orleans. I also met many contacts including an architect and engineer from New Orleans who were both there with the same idea as me to listen, learn and meet like minded folks. Both have expressed interest in joining the cause and opening up a greater coalition.
I learned that we will need to either work on reforming the way the corps is run in regards to seawall/levee construction, planning, etc. or focus entirely on urban planning/design/building. I think it's going to have to be the latter. It's an achievable goal and we can work on a number of other areas that are connected like housing for the poor, education, mass transit, bike paths, parks, etc. It's the whole kit and kaboodle really.
The main thing that I learned though is that this crisis will indeed bring about massive change in the City of New Orleans. As Annemieke Nijhof says, "Politics is about Emergencies". The pressure and activism from the greater design/architecture community will be strong. If we can combine it with the new passion coming through the community right now we will get great things accomplished. I'm exicted for the coming months as we get this org rolling and build definitive ideas and arguments for what the masterplan of the city should look like.