Soutenance de thèse de doctorat de Nada Toueir

- Aménagement

Candidate : Nada Toueir
Grade postulé : Ph.D.
Programme : aménagement
Faculté de l'aménagement

Resilience and the Cultural Landscape: The Case of the Lower Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina

The purpose of this research is to determine the importance of using the cultural landscape in evaluating the resilience of an urban community after the occurrence of a natural disaster. The focus is on the neighborhood of the Lower Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in the city of New Orleans.

Natural disasters are gaining significance and magnitude when they hit cities, which are becoming more and more populated over the years. The damage these disasters cause is colossal.  It is very costly for cities to undergo major disasters and sometimes, large sections of cities need to be entirely rebuilt. The costliest price is the human life, and as history marks it, too many lives have perished due to disasters. While rebuilding is a challenging task, yet feasible, rebuilding a community is not as tangible as the rebuilding infrastructure. This research focuses on the many intangible aspects, like place attachment and social networks, a community needs to rebuild itself in a sound and resilient way. 

The concept of resilience is very contested in the literature and many have attempted to measure it. This research takes a step back and scrutinizes the concept of resilience from a holistic perspective, which highlights its complexity. This leads to questioning the importance of measuring the concept, especially that it changes with time and with the different scales of geography. In addition, a relationship between the cultural landscape and resilience is established, which allows for a better understanding of this complexity.

Taking a little from multiple disciplines (Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning, and Sociology), this research resorts to a methodology that reflects its multidisciplinary aspect. The methodology is the mixed methods research design, which allows the collection of quantitative and qualitative data. The focus is to gather census data, newspaper articles, and observations to give a general perspective on the post-Katrina situation. Interviews are collected from residents and from professionals so as to tackle the research from different angles. This allows reaching results at the case study level as well as the theoretical level. 

This research proves the importance of using the cultural landscape in post-disaster situations as planners and government officials overlook it. Some of the elements that constitute it like place attachment and social networks play an important role in helping people return and rebuild their home, community, and neighborhood. By relating the cultural landscape to the concept of resilience, it implies that resilience is a social construction.


  • Président-rapporteur : Gonzalo Lizarralde, professeur agrégé
  • Directrice de recherche : Isabelle Thomas, professeure agrégée
  • Codirectrice : Michelle M.Thompson, Assistant Professor, University of New Orleans
  • Membre du jury : Sylvain Paquette, professeur agrégé
  • Examinateur externe : Bruno Barroca, Maître de conférences, Université Paris-Est, Département de génie urbain
  • Représentant du doyen de la Faculté de l'aménagement : Sébastien Lord, professeur adjoint, École d'urbanisme et d'architecture de paysage

Le jeudi 9 juin à 10 h, au local 1150 du Pavillon de la Faculté de l'aménagement.