We intend to utilize the opportunity to design a mixed-use, high density housing community to address basic flaws in commercial/retail economy of New Orleans East. Currently in the neighborhood, the majority of retail entities consist of either "dollar" stores or big "box" stores, both representing unsustainable, economically derisive models for strong internal community growth. Evolution is a path from simplicity to complexity, and the existing stores represent a retrogression in that they seek to move from complexity (a diversity of smaller, individually owned stores) to simplicity (buying everything, multiple times, under one roof). Our project seeks to level the playing field by providing a small business incubator with three basic levels of lease-able commercial space:
Level 1- small booth in an open market
Level 2- big booth in an open market
Level 3- store in commercial space near the Chef Menteur Highway
Also included in the master plan is a small business training center to educate these new entrepreneurs and foster a network of small business owners in the neighborhood. The plan allows for an individual to grow (or scale back) their business at their own pace, moving through the three levels of commercial space as demand for their products fluctuates. Allowing steady, solid growth and providing the ability to reinvest profits back into the small business instead of paying rent on an over-sized retail space would enable these locally grown small businesses to remain viable for the long term and thereby improve the overall economic conditions of New Orleans East.