"Smart growth" and "smart cities" are all the rage -- and encouraged and even subsidized by all sorts of federal, state and local policy initiatives. At the same time, the other half of government subsidizes and/or encourages development of flood prone sites and botches evacuation and other emergency plans.
As many have pointed out, the lessons to be drawn will be all over the place (stingy Republicans, corporate greed, global warming, etc.). The New Yorker (Sep. 19) put much of the blame on global warming -- and the Bush failure to sign on to the Kyoto Protocols.
U.S. DOT Federal Highway Statistics (2002) show that the Houston area has the most highway lane-miles per capita (9.54 vs 5.78 for the 25-metro area average) of America's large metro areas. If you have to evacuate by car, Houston is best.
But look at what happened.
This is not global warming. It is the stunning incompetence of officialdom. The same folks who want to manage global temperature change.