Quakes, Brands, 7-Story Buildings: What's Ruining Our Cities This Week

This week! Why a huge earthquake didn't actually cause all that much devastation in Chile. How a not-so-tall building could be the end of a New Orleans neighborhood. And where brands killed Manhattan. Let's take a look at What's Ruining Our Cities.

A really big earthquake didn't really ruin Chile

The earthquake that struck Northern Chile this week was an 8.2—the massive quake rattled the coast, sparked dozens of fires, triggered a tsunami warning, and has spawned over 100 aftershocks. But only six people died in the earthquake (four from heart attacks). How is that possible? Chile has some of the strictest building codes in the world which helped keep people out of physical danger, but it also has a new evacuating procedure, which safely led almost one million people away from the rising waves on the coast. [CNN]

A seven-story building could ruin New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward

Parts of New Orleans have experienced a rebirth almost 10 years after Katrina, but not the Lower Ninth Ward, which remains largely underpopulated and blighted after flooding devastated the area. However, the Holy Cross section of the neighborhood is finally seeing some redevelopment with a new residential building proposed. The only problem? It's seven stories tall, which is way, way taller than anything else in the area. "It has the potential to set a precedent for an assault on characteristic neighborhoods in the city as a whole," says Sarah DeBacher, president of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association. Some are equating the development to the worst possible comparison—Miami. Horrors! [Atlantic Cities]

Brands ruined Manhattan

Ten years after photographing countless storefronts for their popular book, Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York, James and Karla Murray returned to the same addresses for an update. The contrast in the pairs of images, each a decade apart, is striking. While some of the storefronts, like Katz's Deli and McSorley's Ale House, have remained the same, others have taken a turn for the corporate. The biggest offender? Subway. Yes, Subways are ruining New York City. [Gizmodo]

People take shelter under a tent decorated with a Chilean flag after evacuating their homes due to earthquakes in Alto Hospicio, Chile (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)