This proposal investigates the larger picture
of the problem of sub-urban sprawl and uncontrolled growth. It views
the Hurricane Katrina as a catastrophe that has given the New Orleans'
metropolitan area a second chance to fulfill its enormous potential.
In today's city we have lost all sense of place and scale. Although
the traditional idea of the city was based on the human dimension
and speed - today's city/metropolis has been designed as a reaction
to the size and velocity of the automobile. In the years after World
War II New Orleans expanded greatly along with the rest of the major
cities in the United States. In New Orleans' case development spread
into flood prone areas and eventually evolved into suburbs and suburban
sprawl (sometimes referred to as junk space). The New Orleans' metro
area is now greater than 700 square miles with no definable edge
between the delta and the city.
Because of non-existent or short sited planning and the automobile
suburbia has become best characterized by: oversized housing units,
underutilized green space and redundant and wasteful transportation
routs. Further, because of this evacuation of the needed tax base,
the urban core has gone without the repairs and maintenance necessary
for continued safe and meaningful habitation. The result of this
mindless expansion was seen clearly in the days and months following
The gradual evacuation and expansion away from the city's core is
as much to blame for the damage to New Orleans and its inhabitants
as the Hurricane itself. This vicious cycle of movement and deterioration
must come to a stop and the Hurricane, horrific and catastrophic
as it was and still is has allotted New Orleans an opportunity to
once again become one of the most dynamic cities on the planet.
To achieve this balance of outward growth while maintaining/rebuilding
the urban core, this proposal has suggested the following:
- A pairing back of the existing road
system in favor of a mass transit train system that connects major
and industrial centers.
- Population and area limitations
on cities, satellites and suburbs.
- New developments only in geomorphic
ally advantageous locations. Further, in New Orleans, a transformation
of critically damaged housing stock to city parks and natural green
- City and satellite cores are limited
to pedestrian foot traffic and mass transit systems including trains,
trolleys and sub-ways.
- Mixed use buildings in city cores.
Designate 10% of any development to be residential.
It should be noted that this proposal is not intended to be viewed
in the short term. The process of decentralization has occurred
gradually over the last 150 years (the seeds of which were sewn
at the beginning of the industrial age). There is no quick fix for
our current situation. This proposal suggests a new way of organizing
our cities and metropolitan areas in such a way that we can once
again live at a human scale and regain our sense of place, both
of which are perfectly suited to the history and culture of New