Plum Orchard, New Orleans
Soon after Hurricane Katrina, we joined forces with planners, infrastructure experts, landscape architects, ecologists and a local partner ACORN (Association for the Community Organizations for Reform Now) under a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant to develop a community based master plan for rebuilding with the residents of Plum Orchard New Orleans.
The strategies begin at the scale of the backyard, with the brochure Project Backyard, which describes how each property can contribute to the creation of a larger wetland through personal gardening. They culminate in a master plan for twelve blocks, where every climate strategy has additional neighborhood benefit: playgrounds, mixed use economic development of high ground, improved transportation networks for bus and bike and energy self sufficiency to name a few. On ground level, the entire model block is a single water management landscape that continues under homes, which are raised above the flood plain. Together swales a constructed wetland, culverts and underground cisterns manage the water from a ten-year flood internally and, with connection to civic pumps, can sustain the neighborhood during a 100-year event. The strategies could benefit many low-lying coastal suburbs in an age of climate change