Environmental historian to speak at Tulane

April 7, 2015

Barri Bronston
Phone: 504-314-7444

Environmental historian and author Ted Steinberg will share his thoughts on why New York City — not New Orleans — is America’s most vulnerable city at 5 p.m. Thursday (April 9), in F. Edward Hebert Hall, Room 201, on the Tulane University uptown campus.

Steinberg is the author of five books and a professor of history and law at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. His lecture is free and open to the public.

Steinberg, a native of Brooklyn, is the author of Gotham Unbound: The Ecological History of Greater New York (Simon & Schuster, 2014). His talk will focus on the history of floodplain development in New York City, past efforts to combat coastal flooding and recent post-Hurricane Sandy plans to save the city.

“Ten years after Katrina, Professor Steinberg offers a history lesson that should inform the future of all coastal cities,” said event organizer Andrew Horowitz, an assistant professor of history at Tulane.

“Steinberg argues that New Orleans is not America’s most environmentally vulnerable city. Rather, in a richly illustrated presentation, he will demonstrate the human decisions that have made storms, erosion, and rising seas threats to all coastal cities — and none more so than America’s great metropolis, New York.”

In Gotham Unbound, Steinberg tells the four-century history of how hundreds of square miles of open marshlands became home to 6 percent of the U.S. population, and how New Yorkers transformed salt marsh and shellfish beds into a land packed with people, asphalt and steel. It also explains how one of the most important cities in the world wound up in such a perilous situation.

Steinberg’s other books include Acts of God: The Unnatural History of Natural Disaster and Down to Earth: Nature’s Role in American History. He has also written for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Discover Magazine, Scientific American and The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000