The Lower Ninth Ward
New Orleans R/UDAT Report
Table of Contents THE R/UDAT PROGRAM
CONTEXT 8 TACTICS & TOOLS 17 -CULTURE 18
-HOUSING 21 -GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE 26 EVALUATION RUBRICS 36 COMMUNITIES IN ACTION
TEAM ROSTER & THANKS 52 APPENDIX 57
THE R/UDAT PROGRAM – HOW IT WORKS
techniques to engage the public in a multi-faceted format and involve the community across sectors. This approach allows the national team to build on the substantial local expertise already present and available within the community and leverage the best existing knowledge available in formulating its recommendations. It also provides a platform for relationship building, partnership, and collaboration for implementation of the plan.
The Regional and Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT) program is a public service of the American Institute of Architects. This New Orleans R/UDAT represents the 156th R/UDAT project the AIA has held since 1967. The program has served a variety of communities over time, with populations ranging from less than 1,000 people to large jurisdictions of several hundred thousand. Through the program, over 1,000 professionals from more than 30 disciplines have provided millions of dollars in professional pro bono services to communities all over the country, engaging tens of thousands of participants in community-driven planning processes. It has made major contributions to unique and authentic places in America, such as the Embarcadero in San Francisco, the Pearl District in Portland and the Santa Fe Railyard Redevelopment in New Mexico. The process has also been widely adapted around the world.
Public Interest. Successful communities work together for the common good, moving beyond narrow agendas to serve the whole. The goal of the design assistance team program is to provide communities with a framework for collective action. Consequently, each project team is constructed with the goal of bringing an objective perspective to the community that transcends the normal politics of community issues. Team members are deliberately selected from geographic regions outside of the host community, and national AIA teams are typically representative of a wide range of community settings. Team members all agree to serve pro bono, and do not engage in business development activity in association with their service. They do not serve a particular client. The team’s role is to listen and observe, and to provide an independent analysis and unencumbered technical advice that serves the public interest.
THE DESIGN ASSISTANCE PHILOSOPHY The design assistance philosophy is built around a whole-systems approach to communities. While the normal public decision-making process is conducted within the parameters of representative government, design assistance transcends the political process and expands the public dialogue to include other sectors with the intent of building a platform for cross-sector collaboration, civic leadership, and a new approach to public work. The design assistance process brings together government and civic leaders, the business sector, non-profit leaders and the general public in an integrated, ‘whole-community dialogue’ to build collective action plans for the future. The Design Assistance program operates with four key considerations:
“We aren’t going to rebuild our cities from the top down. We must rebuild them from the bottom up.”- David Lewis, FAIA
Context. Every community represents a unique place that is the product its own history, tradition and evolution. There are no one-size-fits-all approaches to community building. Therefore, each project is designed as a customized approach to community assistance which incorporates local realities and the unique challenges and assets of each community. National experts are matched by subject matter expertise and contextual experience to fit each project. Public processes are designed to fit local practices, experiences and culture.
The Community Process From July 13-16, 2018, a community process was conducted with broad participation from Lower Ninth Ward residents, business owners and stakeholders. It included the following key elements: • An extensive car and walking tour of the neighborhood was led by local steering committee members. • Meetings were held with stakeholder groups to discuss issues pertaining to housing, infrastructure, economic development, land use, and culture.
Systems Thinking. Successful community strategies require whole systems analyses and integrated strategies. As a result, each design assistance team includes an interdisciplinary focus and a systems approach to assessment and recommendations, incorporating and examining cross-cutting topics and relationships between issues. In order to accomplish this task, the Center forms teams that combine a range of disciplines and professions in an integrated assessment and design process.
• A public workshop was held involving over 100 participants. At the event, participants worked to answer a couple of key questions posed by the design assistance team:
ŘŘ What do you think are Assets (Strengths), Barriers (preventing progress), and Strategies for overcoming these barriers?
Community Engagement and Partnership. Community building requires collective public work. Each design assistance project is a public event, an act of democracy. The ‘citizen expert’ is central to the design assistance process. The AIA has a five decade tradition of designing community-driven processes that incorporate dozens of
ŘŘ What is the one thing you would do right now in the Lower Ninth Ward? Team members asked additional questions about residents’ hopes and concerns, as well as invited additional ideas on subjects not mentioned in the structured questions. 1
A weekend studio workshop was organized with the team members, residents, and local professionals to analyze community input and existing conditions to produce a series of key recommendations, captured in this report.
As a concluding step, community members were asked to review and vote “Yes” or “No” to show their level of support for each National Team recommendation (see results summary at the end of this report in the appendix.)
“The Lower Ninth Ward is for the Lower Ninth Ward’s people...Include us in the planning process. Include us in the prosperity you see. Then people will feel a sense of self-worth. That’s what I’d like to see come back” – Joseph Recasner
“This is the first time I have seen energy like this in the lower 9th. We haven’t had a process like this before. This feels like a new beginning.” – Keith Calhoun
“What is surprising is that the residents actually think they may be able to make some headway now, in a neighborhood where progress has long seemed to be stalled. That hope stems partly from residents’ close involvement with two newly elected officials, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and City Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen. Cantrell participated in Friday’s workshop, and Nguyen, who said she was tied up in another meeting, sent representatives from her office. But it’s also because dozens of Lower 9th Ward residents finally feel in charge of their own destiny.” – The New Orleans Advocate
BACKGROUND & CONTEXT The Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans is defined by the Industrial Canal on the west, Bayou Bienvenue on the north, Jackson Barracks on the east, and the Mississippi River on the south. The river’s processes have created a natural levee and the highest ground in the Ward is closest to the river. There is 13 feet of elevation change and Galvez Street is essentially at sea level. Slope goes downhill from the River to a pumping station at the northwest corner of Bayou Bienvenue. The engineered levees along the Industrial Canal and Bayou Bienvenue essentially surround the Ward on three sides by large berms and walls that are in some cases 18 feet high. This places the Lower Ninth Ward in a “bowl” and makes visual connection with the water impossible unless from a levee or a tall building. And this land pattern also exacerbates the negative impacts of flooding events; most infamously in the aftermath of Hurricanes Betsy, Katrina, and Rita.
At just over 1.5 miles by 1.7 miles, it is a gridded and compact set of neighborhoods with a rich history. In the past, the areas closest to the river, or “Front of Town”, were heavily developed and important for shipping, commerce, and trade. The areas closest to the Bayou, or “Back of Town”, were farms and plantations that eventually became African American neighborhoods. Current residents still refer to it as “The Country” and “The Back”. These terms describe the qualities that were desirable to residents at the time of its growth and development. Many African American artists and musicians that worked throughout the city lived in the Lower Ninth Ward. Homeownership, then and now, is one of the highest community values. Additionally, tightly knit family units, numerous churches, and many tightly knit organizations have existed in the area for a long time. The priorities listed in the R/UDAT application echo these historic patterns. They include pathways to homeownership, reinforcement of work, and family values.
are common. When the bridges are down, they lack sufficient pedestrian and biking infrastructure; they strongly favor automobiles. Today, the area closest to the River is a national historical district known as Holy Cross, having received its name from Holy Cross School (formerly located in the southwest corner of the Ward). Bounded by St. Claude Street to the north, Holy Cross was predominately white. And in part due to resistance to school desegregation in the Ward, many white residents left the Ward and established new communities in adjacent St. Bernard’s Parrish and other places. Pioneers that represent the struggle for integrated schools protested schools in the Lower Ninth Ward. They include Ruby Bridges, Leona Tate, and many others. They are indicative of the area’s significant Civil Rights legacy. But “white flight” due to school desegregation, as well as the more rapid
The Industrial Canal required the construction of bridges connecting the Ward to the rest of the City of New Orleans. There are three bridges; along Florida Avenue, Claiborne Avenue, and St. Claude Street. All three connections are regularly disrupted by Canal traffic and raised bridges preventing resident access to the rest of the City 10
post-Hurricane Katrina recovery of Holy Cross than the rest of the Lower Ninth Ward, has led to sometimes strained relationships between Holy Cross and the rest of the Ward.
was directed through MR. GO and to the Lower Ninth Ward, overtopping levees and putting the Ward under water for an extended period. Hundreds died. There were billions of dollars in property damage across the city, with a large portion of that damage occurring in the Lower Ninth Ward.
The Industrial Canal, created to accelerate maritime shipping between the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico, the Intercoastal Waterway, and most namely “MR GO” (the extensive dredged and cleared waterway facilitating nautical traffic) led to economic development in the Ward but also disproportionately impacted residents by exposing them to acute flood risk. Most recently, Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge
The slow and inadequate response by Federal, State, and Local Governments Post-Hurricane Katrina continues to impact the Lower Ninth Ward Community. Pre-Katrina, the Lower Ninth Ward’s population was estimated to be nearly 20,000 residents. Today it is around 6,700 residents with many that never returned post-Katrina. 11
The “Green Dot” plan refers to strategies immediately post-Katrina that recommended not rebuilding the northern portion of The Lower Ninth Ward. It is among the lowest elevations in the City surrounded by levees, and reliant on a pumping station to drain in times of flood. As the overall city struggled to comeback post hurricane, there was for a moment an attitude that lowest lying elevations, like in the Lower Ninth Ward, were not practical to sustain as communities under recurring flood risk. The city proposed retreat from these areas and in their place, green space, parks, and restored environments. The “Green Dot” immediately forced conflict between the city and affected communities. However, with powerful community activism, Ward residents successfully convinced the City to rebuild The Old Lawless High School (now MLK High School), reversing the City’s “Green Dot” approach to the Ward. Since then, New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) announced an interest in stabilizing housing around the High School, offering an important change in city/community relations with regard to revitalization.
There have been many groups, organizations, and efforts to contribute to the recovery process in the Lower Ninth Ward. Some are nationally known like The Make It Right Foundation which sponsored an international design competition for affordable and sustainable homes. Some are not well known but have been impactful in the recovery process. There are almost too many to name, but their numbers include Global Green, Guerilla Garden, Sustain the 9, Sankofa, and many others. The Lower Ninth Ward Homeowner’s Association has played a key community advocacy and rebuilding role, having received and overseen the investment of millions of dollars of housing construction Post-Katrina. Additionally, many university/community partnerships have resulted in significant design build projects that have elevated the status of the area’s unique characteristics. The Kansas State University Architecture Design Build work, including the reconstruction of the House of Dance and Feathers and stabilization of early returnee Ronald Allen, was instrumental to creating community momentum to reinvest in the Ward. Finally, the Louisiana State University and University of Colorado Denver Design Build Studio that produced the Bayou Platform has been transformative. It is the only place along the Bayou where people can peer above the levee wall and experience this regenerating resource.
The City of New Orleans has reinvested as well. Their work includes the completed construction of a new Fire Station, The Sanchez Community Center, and MLK Charter Elementary School Figure 44. The redesign of Claiborne Avenue and numerous homes resulted from the partnership with the Lower Ninth Ward Homeowner’s Association via “The Road Home” program (progress that is severely critiqued by community residents.)
Currently, the City is trying to implement infrastructure projects funded through a $2.4 billion Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) settlement post-Katrina. However, the effort exhibits the same characteristics that have fueled Ward resident frustrations for the 13 years since Hurricane Katrina. The phasing, prioritization, and results have been difficult to understand. The numerous efforts, in various stages of implementation, and with unclear communication of results and impacts to the Ward, have eroded rather than bolstered community confidence that recovery continues.
Additionally, residents repeatedly express an apprehension for community engaged planning. The Lower Ninth Ward Homeowner’s Association published their analysis of 17 plans conducted in the Ward since 2005 (post-Hurricane Katrina) alone. Figure 28 The effort and sacrifice required of residents, still in the midst of a 13 year recovery, has often not been met with results to validate their commitment. Many of the plans were never implemented, or were implemented in ways that were not readily apparent to area residents. Although residents want influence in decision making, ironically, the lack of results from numerous community engaged processes has made them wary of engagement efforts moving forward.
The application provided to AIA from the Steering Committee captures the current sentiment:
Ward. These include unspent FEMA Settlement Funds supporting street and infrastructure repairs through the Joint Infrastructure Road Recovery Project (JIRR), and unspent Road Home Program funds. Redirecting a portion of these funds to support community-based revitalization will not be easy, but could happen with broad-based support.
“There have been many past attempts by community based organizations to deal with community issues but the leadership has been uneven in addressing all of the responsibilities of governance. Added, poor consensus building has hindered community development. There have also been attempts at community based development, that were led astray by promises of money and self-aggrandizement, which often got in the way of community needs and benefits. There is a coalition of stake holders and other attempts to develop collective strategies for the community, but these efforts have not prevailed for an assortment of individual and collective problems. There were many outside organizations and individuals who came in the guise of helping the Lower Nine, often helping themselves by receiving grants, writing books, and doing projects that brought them notoriety, leaving very little concrete and substantial results for the community. There have been many pop-up nonprofits which have only worked and help certain members of the community, and also made money for themselves and continue to do so. These conditions, including lack of communication and information, have made moving the community forward very difficult.”
• Increased Partnership Activity: There is a rising trend of public-private partnerships affecting change throughout New Orleans. The Lower Ninth Ward has a chance to build new relationships to attract resources and impact policy decision making. • Implemented Projects: Although change has not come in the form and scale demanded by the Lower Ninth Ward, there are implemented projects across the community that can serve as important teaching and learning tools as future strategies are developed.
Significant City Initiatives Currently, the City of New Orleans is challenged with two issues directly affecting revitalization in the Lower Ninth Ward.
A Strategic Moment
• Vacant Lot/Blighted Properties- Lower Ninth Ward, as well as other parts of the city, has numerous vacant lots. Ownership, phased development strategies, and differing property/lot maintenance are all ongoing challenges. Mayor Cantrell specifically requested help from the National Team in the formulation of approaches in the Lower Ninth Ward.
Although the Lower Ninth Ward has faced many challenges and engaged in numerous planning activities, the timing of this R/UDAT aligns with some significant shifts in the political and economic conditions affecting the community.
• Green Infrastructure-The recently published Urban Water Plan for Greater New Orleans was developed to provide guidance in re-envisioning the ways the city could adapt to better address sea level rise, flood protection, and storm water management. The plan includes strategies for green infrastructure retrofits to existing city infrastructure. The city has successfully secured over $140 million dollars to support the Gentilly Green Infrastructure Plan. The city is actively pursuing funding to support green infrastructure throughout the city. The National Team was asked to make suggestions about green infrastructure opportunities in the Lower Ninth Ward.
• Political Will: The R/UDAT occurred soon after the inauguration of Mayor Latoya Cantrell and Councilwoman Cindy Nguyen. Mayor Cantrell rose to City prominence due to her community leadership in the Broadmoor Neighborhood Post-Hurricane Katrina. Broadmoor’s revitalization provides Mayor Cantrell with the lived experience to empathize and be more receptive of other plans and communities addressing recovery concerns. Additionally, Councilwoman Nguyen is already seen be residents as more responsive and proactive then her predecessor. The Mayor and the Councilwoman participated in both pre-R/UDAT planning visits, as well as in the R/UDAT itself. At the first community meeting, Mayor Cantrell declared “The reality is that not enough has happened. So I just want you to know that as you’re using this weekend, that I’m waiting to receive what comes of it so that the city can make the Lower Ninth more of a priority than it has in the past. So give it all you’ve got! Although I know you could say, hey, we gave it all we had for a long time, but you know what? We can always give more. So give it all you have. No longer can we stand by and say what we will do, we have to show what we can do. And that’s what I want to deliver for you – action. Not words, but action.”
A Revitalization Strategy for the Lower Ninth Ward The application stated that the purpose of this R/UDAT is to provide the community with a “strategy driven plan for economic development in the Lower Ninth Ward.” The proposed mechanism for achieving this, an Economic Development District, was requested as a means to “insure community based planning and development that is cohesive, economically resilient, and grounded in the creation of an equitable, livable, and sustainable community.” The application requested this in the context of the following issues:
• Potential to Redirect Post-Disaster Resources: At the times when previous plans were developed there were limited resources available for revitalization. Currently, there are multiple resource streams allocated to but unspent in the Lower Ninth 14
The Community Process/What We Heard
• Lack of a Comprehensive Plan: Twelve years after the flooding of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the lack of a comprehensive planning strategy that has consensus, is cohesive and is beneficial to the economic and social/cultural development of the Lower Ninth Ward community.
The Steering Committee welcomed and hosted the National Team at Bethel AME Church on Caffin Avenue. This location was strategic as it was in the center of the Ward and communicated a somewhat neutral position in the political geography that sometimes separates the interests of Holy Cross from the rest of the Ward.
• Economic Development: The lack of jobs, employment generators, business and entrepreneurial opportunity, and economic development with in the Lower Nine to serve its residents.
Stakeholder meeting #1
• Inequitable Development: The lack of quality and variety of retail and commercial establishments to serve the needs of the Lower Ninth Ward Community. New development along St. Claude Avenue comes up to Poland Avenue, then leap frogs over the Lower Ninth Ward, and begins again past Jackson Barracks and into the adjacent Parish (which was considered a poorer community then the Lower Ninth Ward pre-Katrina).
Once situated, the team accompanied the Steering Committee on a guided tour of the Lower Ninth Ward. This tour culminated in a Stakeholder meeting at the MLK High School. Approximately 30 people ranging from long-time residents to organizational representatives were organized into groups in four topic areas: • Culture (Facilitator: Elizabeth Kennedy)
• Safety: Prevailing crime and safety concerns that are not adequately handled by the municipal authorities of New Orleans. There is a serious under-staffing of police within the City of New Orleans, especially in the Lower Ninth Ward where we only have two police on regular patrol.
• Economic Development (Facilitator: Ernst Valery) • Housing (Facilitator: Donald King) • Infrastructure (Facilitator: Naomi Doerner)
• Affordable Housing: The lack of affordable housing and paths to ownership for residents who wish to return as well as for many current residents.
Each National Team member facilitated a conversation in a topic area with the stakeholder group. Each group was asked to identify Assets, Barriers, Strategies for Overcoming Barriers, and what they would “do right now” to address a critical issue in the topic area. Each individual stakeholder was asked to do this exercise on their own before reporting to their group and engaging in discussion. This process produced rich conversations and set a pattern of community engagement that led to the format of the final presentation.
• Blighted Properties: The deterioration of property values caused by blighted and abandoned structures, massive, illegal dumping from outside the Lower Ninth Ward, and burned and abandoned vehicles brought into the sparsely populated parts of the Lower Ninth Ward. • Beautification and Amenities: The lack of creative and adequate efforts to enhance the beauty of the area, provide more recreational areas, fully manage storm water and wetlands depletion, and protect against flooding.
• Resources: The lack of public resources to provide activities, structure and social services for the young people of the community to combat the negative issues within the environment.
In the evening, a larger community workshop was convened to engage broader resident perspectives. Mayor Latoya Cantrell, as well as representatives of City Staff, participated in this meeting. Over 100 local people participated in this meeting. After introductions (including viewing the video), community residents were invited to engage in the same process as the previous stakeholder meeting (four topic areas, individual reporting before group dialogue). Residents were also invited to move between tables and topics.
For these reasons, this process was designed to not deliver “another plan”. It was designed to engage the community in conversations that leveraged their knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of previous efforts, and to identify strategic opportunities that could catalyze positive change. This focus also informed the composition and skill sets of the National Team.
Stakeholder meeting #2
Although it includes visions and goals, the emphasis of this report is on strategies and tactics (which can also be called tools) that pinpoint more focused and discrete activities gleaned from the National Team’s research that could deliver results. It is hoped that through a focus on actionable recommendations, the overall trajectory of recovery can shift positively and increase community control of revitalization efforts.
An additional stakeholder meeting was held on Day Three of the workshop. It was facilitated by Kofi Boone and included discussion of all four topic areas. The meeting was held at Bethel AME Church. Around 30 people attended the meeting. Although there were some repeat participants, this was the first meeting with the directors of City of New Orleans Department of Public Works (DPW) and a Board of Directors 15
member of the Department of Water and Sewage (DWS) in attendance. In addition to general feedback on the challenges with development in the Lower Ninth Ward, both DPW and DWS provided key insight into the challenges with administering FEMA funds. In the interest of City-wide equity, they decided to work on numerous smaller projects across the city, resulting in partial street reconstructions with their completion (as a street) undetermined. They claimed over 200 projects citywide with the balance of larger projects reserved for the end of their funding cycle.
Notes on Principles of Equitable Development Perceived and real inequitable development impacts the Lower Ninth Ward. Although resources have been spent in the Ward, there is a sense that there have not been enough resources and they have not been deployed in ways have made a sustainable long-term impact. Equitable Development entails a set of goals and principles that can inform a reinvestment process and define measurable outcomes determining if future investment affects the Ward in the manner desired by its residents. Adapting from Equitable Development as a Tool to Advance Racial Equity Report (Government Alliance on Race and Equity) 2015, a working definition of Equitable Development could be:
The DPW director did say that there was a possibility to reset the implementation schedule, and larger projects could move forward in the timeline. This might be an opportunity for the Lower Ninth Ward to advocate for completion of incomplete infrastructure renovations post-Katrina. This explanation led to a discussion of development phasing; if the development of housing and other services were intended for the Ward, shouldn’t infrastructure be completed first? The indeterminate phasing of some of infrastructure was identified by many in attendance as an impediment to development interest in some areas.
“Quality of life outcomes, such as affordable housing, quality education, living wage employment, healthy environments, and transportation are equitably experienced by the people currently living and working in a neighborhood, as well as for new people moving in. Public and private investments, programs, and policies in neighborhoods that meet the needs of residents, including communities of color, and reduce racial disparities, taking into account past history and current conditions.”
Vision Statement These concepts, combined with the findings from the community meetings, discussion with the steering committee, and team work, contributed to the formation of a vision statement guiding revitalization strategies.
GARE outlines two fundamental concepts that frame development decision making and actions in communities. These fundamentals include:
“The Lower Ninth Ward is a cohesive community that leverages its history, culture, and environment to provide for the daily needs of its residents. It is a community that enables growth and equitable development, protects its residents from disaster, and supports the health and prosperity of all.” Strategies From the vision statement, four strategies were developed to organize the tactics and tools. These strategies included:
1. Strong communities and people. People and communities with stability and resilience in the face of displacement pressures fare better. An intact community in which people are able to have high quality jobs and financial security; culturally appropriate goods, services, and support; and strong social networks that support the acceptance of a range of cultures has better outcomes. 2. Great places with equitable access. A city where all neighborhoods are healthy, safe, and afford their resident access to the key determinants of well-being promotes inclusion. Additionally, the National Team associated some of the challenges with the Ward responding to disruption with the speed and scale of recovery resources, as well as the long periods between the infusion of resources that lacked sustainable processes for continuance. Born of the conversations held during the Culture topic area sessions, the three words of “Incremental”, “Informal” and “Solidifying” over time emerged as guiding principles reflecting the alignment of development goals and the community’s capacity to have some control over it.
1. Increase collective community power in the process of revitalization of the Lower Ninth Ward. 2. Build collective resources to sustain revitalization of the Lower Ninth Ward. 3. Develop collective community capacity in the process of revitalization the Lower Ninth Ward. 4. Grow the collective systems needed to foster local community development. 16
Tactics & Tools
A CULTURAL FRAMEWORK FOR L9 The Culture Workshop participants shared stories of their deep familial connection to the L9—to home—and made it clear that the Lower 9th Ward was and remains a place of purpose, whose rich founding and migration narratives, significance within the national civil rights movement, strong communal traditions, collective work ethic, investment in education with emphasis on excellence, robust arts culture and integral ties to the bayou and river environments, collectively symbolize a collective effort to claim and live the American promise. Ongoing, local efforts to preserve the diasporic community’s sense of place post-Katrina should form the basis of any L9 redevelopment approach— particularly since, in losing its urban fabric, cultural capital remains its strongest underpinning. By intentionally basing reinvestment strategies on the unique aspects of L9’s community life, the City and community can create a responsive model for locally-focused reinvestment and institutionalize ground rules for securing solid community equity. To immediately cement a cultural framework for L9 redevelopment investment:
L9 Family Reunion should be held in within the L9. Activations can be specific to a single location or annually change sites to fully engage the neighborhood. • Immediately identify and give incentives to local micro-enterprises requiring a range of job skills. Many declined to return to the L9 because the underpinnings of community infrastructure were lost. Schools are making a comeback, making family life possible. Now it’s time to bring back locally situated jobs. Particularly invest in and support businesses and services that will make and export L9 products to the City at large at commercial scale, and thereby strengthen the community brand. Create local cooperative facilities, such as commercial kitchen and fabrication (“maker”) spaces, to lower barriers to business entry and expansion, and provide opportunities to bring home-based businesses into code- and regulatory compliance. • Significantly increase institutional support for existing civil rights history and cultural arts infrastructure, and invest in small-scale, ancillary revenue-generating developments that underpin organic growth of local cultural arts identity. In principle, these first steps will be part of a larger community benefits agreement and framework that incorporates a definitive cultural impact metric assessing the responsiveness, and strategic value of the investment and development approach, recognizing that L9’s culture continues to evolve and is situationally dynamic.
• Identify at least three instances of “low hanging fruit” that will immediately reinforce the L9 “brand,” by supporting and signifying community culture, specifically associating activities with the L9 neighborhood, and creating spatial “touchstones” that link L9 with “home.” For example, the annual
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Assets
The Mississippi River waterfront is the single most import economic development asset for the Lower 9th.
The Opportunity Zones Program provides the following incentives to investors to reinvest unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds defined as - an investment vehicle created as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to incentivize investment in targeted communities described as a “low-income community” (Definition used by the New Markets Tax Credit):
Barriers The barrier to transforming the Lower 9th Ward into the economic engine it is destined to be is the negative perception of the neighborhood – as well as the lack of a transformative – anchor – destination project that unifies the neighborhood and represents it’s past, present and future.
Overcoming Barriers While philanthropy, various grants, and handouts have a role to play in a community’s recovery effort post catastrophe – a consistent dependency on such dollars and those who control them is often what cripples the people. Investment is a sustainable approach that helps people overcome hardship and build future wealth and legacy.
What Can We Do Right Now? Convert the Weigh Station Buildings to a dynamic mix-use job-training, job access, light industrial, artists work, live and gallery space, with ancillary community, event and performance space, as well as riverfront dining experience. The riverfront is transformed to the new branded gateway to the neighborhood to breathe new life into the Lower 9th. Further, a new private water taxi service will connect the Lower 9th directly to the Central Business District, prioritizing the neighborhood.
Economic Development: Ioby Crowd-Sourced Funding Assets • Strong social networks of connected community residents. • Interest in participating in short-term/high-impact change in the neighborhood.
1. Investors can roll existing capital gains (money made on investments, i.e. stocks, bonds etc.) into Opportunity Funds with no up-front tax bill. The law allows investors to delay their original tax bill until December 31, 2026 at the latest, or until they sell their Opportunity Fund investments, if earlier. 2. Long-term investment is incentivized by allowing for a modest step-up in basis for investments that are held beyond five and seven years. For investment held at least five years, the taxpayer’s basis is increased by 10 percent of the original gain. For investments held for at least seven years, the taxpayer’s basis is increased by an additional 5 percent of the original gain. (Meaning they will only owe taxes on 85 percent of the rolled-over capital gains) 3. An additional incentive to make long-term, patient capital investments, taxpayer’s holding Opportunity Fund investments for a period of at least 10 years are exempt from any additional gains beyond that which was previously deferred. In other words, after settling their original tax bill, patient investors in Opportunity Funds will face no capital gains taxes. Their investment will earn a tax-free on their original investment into the Fund. Opportunity zones promise to deliver investment to our country’s poorest communities. While the program could deliver a vital injection to areas that are struggling with economic development, it could also fuel development that displaces. Investments must be intentional, layered and measured to make inclusion a priority.
Barriers • Lack of access to community-controlled resources.
First Stepsâ€”Modular Pop Ups 20
What Can We Do Right Now?
• Ioby is an online platform for sharing and funding projects. Etsy is being used increasingly for community design and planning. An example is Urban Patch, a community-controlled revitalization program in Indianapolis. Well scoped projects are posted to Etsy and components of the projects are broken down into affordable investments (ex. A tree, a sign, etc.). For more please visit https://www.ioby.org/ urbanpatch
• Open communication between the museum developers, Opportunity Zone managers, and potential interested local community developers to determine potential to leverage museum for other adjacent development.
What Can We Do Right Now?
• A long history of home ownership of 50-75% and residence preference for ownership of single-family homes.
• After developing community strategies, create a cost estimate for each short-term/ high impact community project. • Create an Ioby account, post and manage the project.
• Available property (vacant lots) controlled by NORA, HANO and other public agencies who committed to utilizing properties for housing development.
• Upon completion of each project, create post-development materials to share impact and encourage future funding.
• Existing local and Federal programs to fund housing renovation and replacement.
• Need and demand for homes and availability of potential homeowners.
Economic Development: Leveraging Institutional Anchors
• Overgrown vacant lots pose a health hazard, public nuisance and impediment to adjacent home and lot property values and new homes’ development.
Assets • Louis D. Armstrong will be undergoing a renovation to become a Civil Rights Museum and senior housing. It is a significant historical asset on St. Claude. It has received broad based support, including resources from the National Park Service.
• Access to capital: credit-worthiness evaluations and under-funded subsidy gaps. • Challenge in navigating funding programs regulation and red tape. • Perceived unreasonable schedule demands to build and occupy new projects.
• Vacant lots on the other three corners of the intersection with the former school. These could be redevelopment sites that could leverage the coming museum. • The future museum is in the Opportunity Zone.
Overcoming Barriers • Tap into the current political will and community consciousness to make vacant lot clearance a priority.
• Innovate means to access existing capital like the Road Home Program with improvements in the speed of development partnering, component construction and timely occupation of homes.
• Vacant lot ownership, land cost, environmental conditions, adjacent redevelopment interest, and other unknowns. • Lack of awareness of the Opportunity Zone and relationships with potential local developers.
• Reform regulatory restrictions and reduce red tape on grants and subsidy programs under local governance. • Creatively leverage FEMA recovery funds to align with housing-related infrastructure, utilities, street improvements and transportation.
• Establish a permit allowance to outside developers in trade for access to development capital flowing into the Opportunity Zone.
• Coordinate museum development as a catalyst for activating St. Claude corridor. • Gain awareness of potential of Opportunity Zone and investment to promote adjacent compatible development. • Scale redevelopment to attract local, community-based development. 21
What Can We Do Right Now? • Work with public agencies to identify ownership of as many vacant lots as possible and post with a yard sign similar to the HANO sign. • Establish a Block Captain program of residents charged with monitoring and reporting overgrown lots and illegal dumping. Strengthen Block Captains empowerment through partnering directly with a public official responsible for making lot clearance a priority. • Reduce barriers to access and release the $32 million in funds in the Road Home Program. • Build the local economy by developing an Emerging Developer program through partnering and mentoring with established developers. • Provide support to Emerging Developer Program participants to partner with NORA to build their 10 shovel-ready projects, immediately. • Promote the HANO RFQ sale of scattered sites in the L9W to the Emerging Developer Program participants, partners and individual residents and businesses. • Use land use code provisions to construct Accessory Dwelling Units (in-law apartments) in vacant lots in the Opportunity Zone to provide an income unit and reduce the mortgage of the property owner. • Design and build a model home on a vacant site, in the Opportunity Zone, utilizing innovative construction (illustrations of a housing prototype example are included on the next two pages). • Build a model small, mixed-use building to demonstrate how affordable housing can be located above small business spaces in the Opportunity Zone.
Housing: Leveraging Institutional Anchors Assets • Former school sites that were demolished post-Katrina are still (relatively) large sites and still owned by the school system. • The development of MLK High School has catalyzed responses in adjacent housing stabilization (NORA), and infrastructure improvements to promote safe walks to school. • Local precedent reflects the potential for the reintroduction of institutions (like schools) can have on housing stabilization and infrastructure improvements to support them.
• Recurring vandalism in some vacant properties, affects redevelopment potential (poor image for investors.)
• MLK High School came from strong community activism and concessions from the City. It is unclear whether or not that can happen again. • Locations of former school sites could become new uses and not return to schools/ institutions.
Overcoming Barriers • Information campaign on existing City policies that affect poorly maintained vacant properties.
• Formal community feedback tools to get perception of performance of existing programs to relevant city departments.
• Review data on school trends including demand for new institutions to address existing gaps, and the anticipated needs of future residents.
• Clarity on vacant property ownership; publicly accessible database with coordination in community to disseminate database (Sanchez center, etc.).
• Engage NORA to determine how housing stabilization around MLK High School is proceeding, and if it can become a new strategy for future sites in the Ward.
• Pilot program with community collaboration on strategy; pick an area to test and evaluate processes. • Consult with other communities with scalable strategies for addressing vacant property maintenance.
What Can We Do Right Now?
• Scale up and enable community economic development; seed funding for micro businesses reporting and cleaning up vacant properties.
• Open communication between the school system, NORA, and JIRR to gauge interest in replication of the MILK High School approach.
What Can We Do Right Now?
Housing: Addressing Poorly Maintained Vacant Homes (Blight)
• Evaluate performance of City of New Orleans Blight Guide 2014. What worked? What didn’t? What can the City do better? http://www.cbno.org/site/wp-content/ uploads/Blight-Guide-EDR.pdf
Assets • Well organized Lower Ninth Ward Homeowners Association, Other well-organized community institutions.
• Develop a publicly accessible database of properties. Work with NORA and community-controlled organizations to determine the appropriate format. Detroit Land Bank Authority offers a model https://buildingdetroit.org/?SID=ktdr1c37k7 c44i7hcb1cg42p77.
• Community awareness of negative impact poorly maintained properties have on area revitalization. • Mayor’s office and staff consider addressing poorly maintained properties a high priority in the short term.
• Enable easier DIY ways of addressing vandalism to vacant properties. • Develop and provide seed funding modeled after best practices.
• Vacant properties with a strategy can be assets.
Housing: Addressing Poorly Maintained Vacant Lots
Barriers • Lack of awareness of ownership of vacant properties, unable to enforce directly with owners.
Assets • Well organized community institutions.
• Slow or no response from City Inspectors.
• Community awareness of negative impact poorly maintained vacant land have on area revitalization.
• Feedback on enforcement unclear. • Lack of incentive for owners to respond to vacant property maintenance in community-defined timeline.
• Moment where poorly maintained lots are being connected to health and safety (recent death due to collision and lack of sight lines on overgrown streets.) 25
• Examples throughout the Lower Ninth Ward of vacant lot conversion to urban agriculture, maintained lot next door program members, storm water management and constructed wetlands.
evaluate processes. • Consult with other communities with scalable strategies for addressing vacant lot maintenance. Ex. Detroit Future City vacant lot field guide https://dfc-lots.com/ resources/.
• Mayor’s office and staff consider addressing poorly maintained properties a high priority in the short term.
• Scale up and enable community economic development; seed funding for micro businesses reporting and cleaning up vacant properties.
• Potential demand for more green infrastructure in the neighborhood utilizing vacant lots.
What Can We Do Right Now?
• Evaluate and decide on Lot Next Door program. Residents were unclear on resources, process, and availability of land. Identify gaps and target for program improvement.
• Scale of vacant land in Lower Ninth Ward is immense and beyond the scope of an individual community-controlled resources. • Lack of awareness of ownership of vacant lots, unable to enforce directly with owners.
• Pursue joint work between public health and public works. Conduct a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) baseline of the Lower Ninth Ward with a focus on exposure and safety risks of vacant lots.
• Slow or no response from City Inspectors.
• Use baseline data to track impact vacant lot interventions; their environmental and health impacts, including safety along streets. Use data to pursue non-traditional funding that links environmental performance to public health benefits.
• Feedback on enforcement unclear. • Lack of incentive for owners to respond to vacant property maintenance in community-defined timeline.
• Seed microbusiness grants to local entrepreneurs to report illegal dumping, and maintain frontyard setbacks of vacant lots (mow, remove light brush, collaborate with public works to remove heavy materials).
• Recurring illegal dumping in some vacant properties, affects community health and revitalization potential.
• Pilot reduced maintenance vacant lot strategies including signage, fencing, and plant mixes that can reduce irrigation, mowing, fertilizer, and other inputs.
• Plant canopy trees. The right species can help protect from flooding, create shade, reduce air conditioning costs of adjacent buildings, enhance beauty, and define streets and public spaces.
• Determine NORA priorities in the Lower Ninth Ward and decide on desired level of community-engagement with ongoing NORA strategies. This includes communication, information dissemination, etc. • Information campaign on existing City policies that affect poorly maintained vacant lots.
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE The boundaries of the 9th Ward project area are the Industrial Canal to the West, the Mississippi River to the South, Bayou Beinvenue and Lake Pontchartrain to the North, and the Jackson Barracks to the East. Various physical infrastructure assets and barriers are within the project boundaries. These were assessed through a literature review of comprehensive plans and strategic visioning documents and by meeting with community stakeholder and neighborhood community members to obtain their perspectives and input on Lower 9th Ward neighborhood assets, barriers, recommendations to overcome those barriers and priorities ought to be.
• Environmental assessment of illegal dumping in vacant lots. • Public health impact assessment of cleaning up vacant lots on community health. • Revisit Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan vacant land reuse strategies for the Lower Ninth Ward. Support the neighborhood to be next in line (after Gentilly) for a resilience plan, targeting vacant areas per community input. • Formal community feedback tools to get perception of performance of existing programs to relevant city departments. • Clarity on vacant lot ownership; publicly accessible database with coordination in community to disseminate database (Sanchez center, etc.). • Pilot program with community collaboration on strategy; pick an area to test and 26
Assets Human and Social • Several nonprofit organizations, including neighborhood associations and environmental groups are located in neighborhood. • There are cultural institutions, social aide pleasure clubs and Mardi Gras Indians in the neighborhood. • There are two identified healthcare clinics and facilities. • Numerous churches and faith-based events and activities. Streets & Roadway • Major arterials with East and West connections on North Claiborne and St. Claude Avenue. • Grid network with easy circulation and access, particularly with many two-way street, and relatively close distance across the neighborhood (aprox. 30 min. walking distances across the neighborhood). • Neighborhood scale with distances appropriate for walking, biking and neighborhood. • FEMA and CDBG roadwork in various phases: planned, under progress or completed. Utilities • Water & Sewage treatment facility within the community. • Reliable water Pump & drainage system. Green Infrastructure • Waterways
ŘŘ Ecological and biodiversity of the Bayou Bienvenue, an inlet of the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway and natural drainage and water retention system. ŘŘ Mississippi River and updated system. ŘŘ Industrial Canal maritime economic activity and access. • Renewable Resources
ŘŘ Solar energy is an abundant resource, roofs and land are available for collection. ŘŘ Abundant land available for agricultural production and water collection and retention.
Zoning, Housing & Structures • Several anchor buildings and structures are located along the N. Claiborne and St. Claude Avenue Corridors as well as throughout the community, including along the waterfront, where zoning is mostly compatible with Low Density Mixed Use and Light Industrial, at several locations—some vacant and many unoccupied particularly in the areas. • Governor designated an Opportunity Zone located centrally within the neighborhood where mixed use development zoning exists.
• People feel forgotten; they feel they are always the last priority.
Overcoming Barriers • Create shared use community-based cultural and performance space(s). • Prioritize the creation of Lower 9th Ward Neighborhood Development Partnership, a quasi-community and governmental group that focuses on economic and workforce development. • Increase modal options and access to opportunity through reliability transit by creating an “Adjacent Communities Benefits District” for the Lower 9th ward utilizing and enforcing a basic Community Benefits Agreement in which high-density CBD, the Lower 9th Ward Opportunity Zone and other upzoned corridors across the city can add additional density with conditional permits with assessed fee schedules for the zoning variances.
Arts and Culture • Large community of artists, musicians, crafts persons and creatives, with informal and semi-informal studios and practice spaces throughout the community. • Historical Civil Rights events and leadership figures located in the community.
Regenerative Community Investment Framework Adjacent Development Permit Allowance
Barriers • People and organizations lack funding and capital resources— and access to it via institutional support—and are fragmented or scattered without physical space(s) to develop or cultivate collective creative power. • Overgrown lots prevent visibility of and access to neighborhood assets, and contribute to dumping as well as safety. • Discontinuous walking and bicycling routes, with limited destinations and place. • Limited modes of transit (only bus) with no interior neighborhood circulation and limited service that is infrequent, unreliable and slow.
Lower Ninth Ward Adjacent Community Benefits District
Lower Ninth Ward Community Development Partnership
Local Business Investments
-Lower Nine Residents -Lower Nine Businesses -Lower Nine Neighborhood Assocations -Lower Nine Non-Profits -Lower Nine Advocacy Organizations -Lower Nine Culture Bearers
Community Governance Board
Local Development Investments
Local Program Investments
• Canal Lock Replacement creates uncertainly and instability. • Existing ecological, cultural, economic and open space and park nodes are scattered, and not intentionally connected together.
Local Infrastructure Investments
• Sinking, unstable land. • Poor lighting along interior neighborhood.
• Perception is that basic services are unreliable. • Utilities, particularly telecommunications & internet are poor. 28
• Create a “Transportation Access to Opportunity” cost center through legislature that would allow the city to allocate and spend a portion of the assessed permit fees on adjacent communities and neighborhoods with a concentration of high-poverty communities with the greatest travel time, including the Lower 9th Ward. The City of New Orleans and City Council ought to:
ŘŘ Work with community-based organization and advocacy organization to develop specific details for the Transportation Access to Opportunity cost center, which could include transit passes for low income persons, bicycle repair and/or purchase (a local version of a Commuter Tax Benefit), and a micro transit subsidy. ŘŘ Draft and Pass Legislation to create the Adjacent Communities Benefits District and Transportation Access to Opportunity Cost Center. ŘŘ Create simple income verification and eligibility process. ŘŘ Work with community-based organization and wrap around service providers to enroll participants into the transit pass program. ŘŘ Create a Pilot RFP for micro transit, specifically scoping it to incentivize local business participation and job creation. • Prioritize FEMA planned roadwork construction within or crossing through the opportunity zone, particularly where “failure and poor” designations have been determined. • Leverage existing FEMA and Community Development Block Grants and other funds as matches to create a greenway Bayou to River corridor, creating natural water drainage and water retention ponds as part of the infrastructure to feed and also connect the neighborhood to the Bayou and proposed park, drawing it into portions of the area, and down to the river and existing park, Delery Street Playground. • Enact a calm streets & beautification program, with murals, plantings and temporary activations along St. Claude Avenue, N. Claiborne, Caffin and Tupelo intersection nodes as well as situational nodes at mid-block crossings where there are opportunities. Leverage the NORA Façade Program to activate a few mixed-use development with businesses along the corridor and pair it with historic tax credits.
What Can We Do Right Now? Community Grow collective community capacity, enhance power and catalyze L9 envisioned development, establish an organization that is both a local business improvement district and a local development corporation. • Create a community and stakeholder-based board. • Conduct an equitable development needs assessment(s) for the L9 Ward Opportunity Zone. • Create an actionable and phased programming and development plan, inclusive of a fundraising campaign, to catalyze equitable development focused within the Lower 9th Ward Opportunity Zone. Recommended initial activities include:
ŘŘ Launch a greenscaping apprenticeship program to hire local youth to mow, maintain and learn green landscaping techniques as a workforce development pipeline. ŘŘ Activate the Louis D. Armstrong Elementary school anchor within the Lower 9th Ward Opportunity Zone. ŘŘ Street calming on main corridors (Caffin and Tupelo) through murals, plantings and low-cost beautification. ŘŘ Container pop-up demonstration with a Civil Rights Museum Exhibition. ŘŘ Develop a mixed-used anchor development, start at the Louis D. Armstrong Elementary; Opportunities include Civil Rights Museum, groceries, clinic, local nonprofit office space, housing.
Mayor of New Orleans & City Council • Create an Adjacent Community Benefits District and a Transportation Access to Opportunity cost center:
ŘŘ Use assessed permit fees for transit passes for low income persons, bicycle repair and/or purchase and a micro transit subsidy. • Direct DPW to prioritize FEMA roadway construction dollars allocated in the L9 ward within or crossing through the Opportunity Zone. • Leverage FEMA, Community Development Block Grant and other monies as matches for additional monies to create water retention infrastructure within the Opportunity Zone creating a green grid.
Storm Water Management With strong leadership and support by Local AIA members, the National Team included an analysis and recommended actions for green infrastructure in the Lower Ninth Ward. The Lower Ninth Ward is protected from flooding by rebuilt levees as well as a recently rebuilt Pumping Station in its lowest point. Community stakeholders reported that since rebuilding, the area has not experienced flooding with the same regularity as before Hurricane Katrina. However, there were concerns that the Pumping Station could be overburdened by future 31
flooding. Green infrastructure that could reduce the burden of the Pumping Station, as well as increase community protection from flooding. A rough storm water runoff calculation was performed for the Lower Ninth Ward using a 10-year storm (most frequent in the area) to set a water budget. The Lower Ninth Ward was analyzed based on slope, elevation, vacant land, and urban patterns to assign conceptual categories that could have targets for storm water management and flood protection. These categories were overlaid with the recommendations of the National Team. This overlay produced some conceptual tactics for folding green infrastructure into a community revitalization plan (see illustration on next page.) The analysis determined that around 41% of the Ward’s runoff from a 10-year storm could be captured in a 1.5’ green infrastructure system between Bayou Bienvenue and Florida Avenue from Forstall to Tupelo. Currently, 1.5 acres is a constructed wetland created by Sankofa, and this serves in a way as proof of concept of the bigger green infrastructure idea. Using potential school sites (MLK High School, proposed future school site, etc.), as well as vacant lots near Florida Avenue, an additional 35% of the Ward’s runoff could be captured between Florida and Galvez. Using a combination of streets, parks, and vacant areas, as well as design guidelines between Galvez and Claiborne, an additional 7% of the Ward’s runoff could be captured. The design of these systems is crucial as they can positively contribute to community life if designed and maintained appropriately.
Assets • Bayou Bienvenue, and the potential benefits of its restoration (ecological, educational, economic, cultural, etc.) • Vacant land as a resource for storm water management in existing urban areas. • Opportunity Zone designation between Claiborne, St. Claude, Forstall, and Tupelo as an economic catalyst for infrastructure. • JIRR unspent funds, specifically in undetermined timeline projects in the Ward. • A range of pilot projects in the Ward to inform future green infrastructure planning. • Recent work on the nearby Gentilly Resilience Plan ($141 million).
Barriers • Negative connotations of green infrastructure associated with the “Green Dot” plan. • Lack of resources to enact green infrastructure. • Current limited community capacity to implement infrastructure work. • Lack of community understanding of the Opportunity Zone and JIRR.
Stormwater Management: Leveraging Opportunity Zone & JIRR Resources Due to the economic imperatives presented by the Opportunity Zone, as well as the substantial unspent balance of JIRR (the FEMA Settlement for public works and street reconstruction), a more intensive green infrastructure implementation strategy could positively impact community life between Claiborne and St. Claude. This overlaps the Opportunity Zone and will probably receive significant investment in the near term. Additionally, this area has the least amount of current and near-term street repair work. Redirecting street reconstruction resources, while also coordinating with Opportunity Zone development to engage in a more intensive green infrastructure approach in this area. Green streets, storm water Best Management Practices (BMPs), and other approaches. With that work, there is the potential to handle 10% of Ward storm water runoff. Finally, through adaptation of vacant land, parks, and public spaces in Holy Cross, an additional 10% of Ward storm water runoff could be managed. This set of strategies differs from the “Green Dot” because it distributes green infrastructure throughout the entire Ward, and it has the potential to advance the objectives of the Opportunity Zone as well as JIRR.
• Initiate communication with relevant City agencies to understand the timing and process of the Opportunity Zone and JIRR.
What Can We Do Right Now? • Create a Lower Ninth Ward Community Green Infrastructure Agenda. This could be an early task of the Lower Ninth Ward Development Partnership (see Infrastructure strategies). • Work with the City to coordinate JIRR with the needs of the Opportunity Zone. Alignment between these two schedules could offer opportunities in the near term.
LOWER NINTH WARD REVITALIZATION PLAN: WHAT CAN WE DO RIGHT NOW?
shovel-ready projects, immediately. 7. Promote the HANO RFQ sale of scattered sites in the L9W to the Emerging Developer Program participants, partners and individual residents and businesses. 8. Use land use code provisions to construct Accessory Dwelling Units (in-law apartments) in vacant lots in the Opportunity Zone to provide an income unit and reduce the mortgage of the property owner. 9. Design and build a model home on a vacant site, in the Opportunity Zone, utilizing innovative construction. 10. Build a model small, mixed-use building to demonstrate how affordable housing can be located above small business spaces in the Opportunity Zone. 11. Open communication between the school system, NORA, and JIRR to gauge interest in replication of the MILK High School approach.
CULTURE To immediately cement a cultural framework for L9 redevelopment
investment: Identify at least three instances of “low hanging fruit” that will immediately reinforce the L9 “brand,” by supporting and signifying community culture, specifically associating activities with the L9 neighborhood, and creating spatial “touchstones” that link L9 with “home.” 1. For example, the annual L9 Family Reunion should be held in within the L9. 2. Activations can be specific to a single location or annually change sites to fully engage the neighborhood. 3. Immediately identify and give incentives to local micro-enterprises requiring a range of job skills. Many declined to return to the L9 because the underpinnings of community infrastructure were lost. Schools are making a comeback, making family life possible. Now it’s time to bring back locally situated jobs. 4. Particularly invest in and support businesses and services that will make and export L9 products to the City at large at commercial scale, and thereby strengthen the community brand. 5. Create local cooperative facilities, such as commercial kitchen and fabrication (“maker”) spaces, to lower barriers to business entry and expansion, and provide opportunities to bring home-based businesses into code- and regulatory compliance. 6. Significantly increase institutional support for existing civil rights history and cultural arts infrastructure, and invest in small-scale, ancillary revenue-generating developments that underpin organic growth of local cultural arts identity.
HOUSING 12. Evaluate performance of City of New Orleans Blight Guide 2014.
What worked? What didn’t? What can the City do better? http://www.cbno.org/site/ wp-content/uploads/Blight-Guide-EDR.pdf Develop a publicly accessible database of properties. 13. Work with NORA and community-controlled organizations to determine the appropriate format. Detroit Land Bank Authority offers a model https:// buildingdetroit.org/?SID=ktdr1c37k7c44i7hcb1cg42p77. 14. Enable easier DIY ways of addressing vandalism to vacant properties. 15. Develop and provide seed funding modeled after best practices. 16. Evaluate and decide on Lot Next Door program. Residents were unclear on resources, process, and availability of land. Identify gaps and target for program improvement. 17. Pursue joint work between public health and public works. 18. Conduct a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) baseline of the Lower Ninth Ward with a focus on exposure and safety risks of vacant lots. 19. Use baseline data to track impact vacant lot interventions; their environmental and health impacts, including safety along streets. 20. Use data to pursue non-traditional funding that links environmental performance to public health benefits. 21. Seed microbusiness grants to local entrepreneurs to report illegal dumping, and maintain frontyard setbacks of vacant lots (mow, remove light brush, collaborate with public works to remove heavy materials). 22. Pilot reduced maintenance vacant lot strategies including signage, fencing, and plant mixes that can reduce irrigation, mowing, fertilizer, and other inputs. 23. Plant canopy trees. The right species can help protect from flooding, create shade, reduce air conditioning costs of adjacent buildings, enhance beauty, and define streets and public spaces.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 1. Convert the Weigh Station Buildings to a dynamic
mix-use job-training, job access, light industrial, artists work, live and gallery space, with ancillary community, event and performance space, as well as riverfront dining experience. The riverfront is transformed to the new branded gateway to the neighborhood to breathe new life into the Lower 9th. 2. Further, a new private water taxi service will connect the Lower 9th directly to the Central Business District, prioritizing the neighborhood. 3. After developing community strategies, create a cost estimate for each short-term/high impact community project. 4. Create an Ioby account, post and manage the project. 5. Upon completion of each project, create post-development materials to share impact and encourage future funding. 6. Open communication between the museum developers, Opportunity Zone managers, and potential interested local community developers to determine potential to leverage museum for other adjacent development.
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE For Community 1. Grow collective community
capacity, enhance power and catalyze L9 envisioned development, establish an organization that is both a local business improvement district and a local development corporation. 2. Create a community and stakeholder-based board. 3. Conduct an equitable development needs assessment(s) for the L9 Ward Opportunity Zone. 4. Create an actionable and phased programming and development plan, inclusive of a fundraising campaign, to catalyze equitable development focused within the Lower 9th Ward Opportunity Zone. 5. Recommended initial activities include: a) Launch a greenscaping apprenticeship program to hire local youth to mow, maintain and learn green landscaping techniques as a workforce development pipeline. b)
HOUSING 1. Work with public agencies to identify ownership of as many vacant lots
as possible and post with a yard sign similar to the HANO sign. 2. Establish a Block Captain program of residents charged with monitoring and reporting overgrown lots and illegal dumping. 3. Strengthen Block Captains empowerment through partnering directly with a public official responsible for making lot clearance a priority. 4. Reduce barriers to access and release the $32 million in funds in the Road Home Program. 5. Build the local economy by developing an Emerging Developer program through partnering and mentoring with established developers. 6. Provide support to Emerging Developer Program participants to partner with NORA to build their 10 34
Activate the Louis D. Armstrong Elementary school anchor within the Lower 9th Ward Opportunity Zone. c) Street calming on main corridors (Caffin and Tupelo) through murals, plantings and low-cost beautification. d) Container pop-up demonstration with a Civil Rights Museum Exhibition. 6. Develop a mixed-used anchor development, start at the Louis D. Armstrong school; Opportunities include Civil Rights Museum, groceries, clinic, local nonprofit office space, housing. Mayor of New Orleans & City Council 1) Create an Adjacent Community Benefits District and a Transportation Access to Opportunity cost center: a) Use assessed permit fees for transit passes for low income persons, b) bicycle repair and/or purchase and a micro transit subsidy. 2) Direct DPW to prioritize FEMA roadway construction dollars allocated in the L9 ward within or crossing through the Opportunity Zone. 3) Leverage FEMA, Community Development Block Grant and other monies as matches for additional monies to create water retention infrastructure within the Opportunity Zone creating a green grid. 4) Create a Lower Ninth Ward Community Green Infrastructure Agenda. 5) This could be an early task of the Lower Ninth Ward Development Partnership. 6) Work with the City to coordinate JIRR with the needs of the Opportunity Zone. Alignment between these two schedules could offer opportunities in the near term.
Alignment With Community Strategies
As the Lower Ninth Ward moves forward, it will be important to develop and apply metrics to measure progress and performance. Setting these guidelines should be a community engaged process with incentives and penalties to reinforce performance by all involved.
It is recommended that once the community delineates its vision, strategies, and tactics. The National Team tested this approach in their final presentation. Attendees were asked to fill out surveys which asked if they supported a wide array of tools for advancing the Wardâ€™s interests. In a more fully developed rubric, where the strategies are developed and well understood by participants, a survey or other tool can also evaluate the alignment proposals have with important community strategies.
Two that were proposed as starting points during the National Teamâ€™s engagement were rubrics for testing how proposals align with community strategies, and rubrics for evaluating the relationship between time (and resources) invested versus potential impact.
Time (and Resources) Versus Impact
Vision Plan Notes
Given the community’s frustration with the slow process of revitalization, it will be important to set up rubrics for determining the best use of scarce resources for highest impact. In some cases, the community may want “short term/high impact” projects to establish and build momentum. In others, where complex projects require significant resources and preparation, longer term/high impact efforts are needed. As the vision and strategies for community revitalization are established, using tools to evaluate time and resource allocation will become essential to progress.
Although the National Team proposals advocate for incremental, informal, and solidifying strategies, a vision plan diagram was generated to show how the successful application of focused strategies can result in a cohesive community vision. This is a more of an aspirational graphic (next page) than a “road map”.
Strengthen the Core First Leveraging the potential of the Opportunity Zone can help establish a strong Lower Ninth Ward central district and overcome the divisions between Holy Cross and the rest of the Ward. Development strategies can position local developers and residents in front of what are expected to be major short-term reinvestment opportunities. Currently lacking community services could be located throughout this area. Overlaying local initiatives (like the coming museum on St. Claude) with opportunities (like green infrastructure through redirected JIRR funding to this area in the near term) could solidify the area and provide experience needed to address more challenging efforts elsewhere (see adjacent illustration).
Claiborne to Galvez The momentum from the central area could catalyze redevelopment interest supporting the Galvez/ Caffin intersection and areas south of Galvez. An adjacent benefits agreement could mandate that resources be distributed beyond the Opportunity Zone and into this area. Resilient design strategies to protect people from flood are essential in all redevelopment. This area could also be a target area to attract those living near Florida Avenue (and in the lowest elevations in the Ward) to remain in the area but reinforce a solidifying district (see illustration on next page).
The Riverfront and St. Maurice Warehouse & Wharf Redevelopment of the St. Maurice Warehouse emerged as one of the most attractive economic development opportunities in the Lower Ninth Ward. The National Team expressed concern with leading revitalization with this place. However, after attention is given to the central area, warehouse redevelopment is a top priority. Building from its context and creating a space for making, arts, and building, the warehouse has great potential as a 40
major city-wide destination serving residents and visitors alike. The creation of this destination will activate the entire riverfront, potentially creating revenue streams to support linked riverfront and levee pedestrian access and amenities (see adjacent illustration).
The Bayou and Florida Avenue The Lower Ninth Ward is the only Ward in the city where someone can walk from the Mississippi River to a Bayou in less than 30 minutes. As the Coastal Master Plan is implemented and Bayou Bienvenue continues to regenerate, it will emerge as one of New Orleans most important ecological assets. It can become a hub of environmental, educational, and economic activity. Refurbishing the popular Bayou Overlook, and adding additional overlooks in key locations can make this currently invisible asset more connected to the life of the Ward (see on next page.) The green infrastructure recommendations in this report suggest a transformation of vacant land adjacent to Florida Avenue into an asset that can reduce demands on the Pumping Station, create environmental amenities for community stabilization, and protect the Ward from flooding. Also, the areas immediately adjacent to this zone could include a strengthened MLK High School with stabilized adjacent housing, Another elementary school returned to its former location with stabilized housing, and a green jobs and economy corridor connecting the two. This corridor could be home to a range of workforce development and entrepreneurial spaces that can feed New Orleans emerging green infrastructure economy, leveraging its proximity to the Bayou and implemented examples of green infrastructure throughout the Lower Ninth Ward.
Communities in Action
The Path Forward
Portland’s Pearl District
The path to success is laid with small actions that build momentum for the community. The range of ideas in this report is not dissimilar from other design assistance reports in other communities. There are many ideas represented here, and it may seem overwhelming as a whole. However, by starting with the small steps and building momentum for revitalization over time, your collective aspirations for the future will become more feasible. In the near term, it’s important to avoid paralyzing debates over the big ideas in this vision, or spend unnecessary energy considering the biggest investments that will be required in the long-term. Start with the small things and build momentum.
Portland, Oregon has had a similar experience over time following their R/UDAT process. As they reported, “Ever squinted your eyes and tried to imagine something that’s only in your head? That’s how it was for those of us who looked over the rail yards and abandoned warehouses of inner northwest Portland some 20 years ago. Rundown and dilapidated, it was a sight that even the best of us squinters had trouble overcoming. And yet, slowly, a largely forgotten part of Portland’s past became an urban icon of living unlike anything the country had ever seen: A unique blend of verve and vibrancy, with more than a passing nod to Portland’s uncommon brand of originality. Today, the Pearl District has earned a worldwide reputation for urban renaissance.” The Pearl District is recognized as one of the hippest neighborhoods in America today, and its unique urban fabric and character has served as a template for similar strategies in London and other major cities around the world.
Building Momentum Over Time: The San Angelo Story The “snowball effect” is the way one community described the process dynamic that successful momentum creates for transformative change over time. In 1992, San Angelo, Texas was suffering. As one account relates, “Civic-minded residents fretted about the discouraging situation, meeting informally but unable to pinpoint the necessary steps toward progress. Above all, what was missing was a unified vision for wrangling the disparate pieces of San Angelo into a cohesive working whole.” The R/UDAT process was organized to work on that goal. What happened as a result was noteworthy. Lee Pfluger, who served as the chair of the local steering committee for the process, described the conditions then: "Back in 1991 you could have shot a cannon in downtown San Angelo on a Saturday night and not hit a soul — it was that dead — not a car in sight. The effort started with Celebration Bridge (with funds raised from the community) and the revitalization of the Paseo de Santa Angela as a public space, and each success stimulated new interest in downtown. [...] All the vacant buildings that were underutilized in 1991 have all enhanced their utilization to a higher use." By one estimate, “more than $70 million in public and private projects were successfully completed in the decade that followed the R/UDAT. More recently, the $16 million renovation of a former department store transformed the abandoned building into a new public library designed by Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture of New York. Other projects include Killis Almond Architects’ $11.2 million restoration and renovation of San Angelo City Hall, originally designed by the El Paso firm Trost & Trost and built in 1928.” On the 20th anniversary of its design assistance process, San Angelo’s local newspaper editor wrote an open letter to the team that had assisted their community. As they noted, “When I tell my younger friends about the part you played in revitalizing our city, they think it's an urban fairy tale: "Once upon a time, a group of architects, planners and urban design experts from around the nation volunteered to travel to San Angelo and work day and night to find ways to change the future of the city…Many San Angeloans worked many years to transform the Historic City Center. But you affirmed our ideas, planted seeds and sketched a possible map for our future. And you gave us hope. Back in 1992, your ideas seemed like dreams. Now we are living those dreams.”
The Spirit of Charity Innovation District
Much has been made during this process of the need to combine existing tools such as the Opportunity Zone and leverage them for neighborhood revitalization. While these may seem like big ideas, they have been put in place successfully in other areas of New Orleans and are currently being used for similar purposes. The City of New Orleans has experience with a variety of implementing mechanisms that allow for innovative approaches to govern implementation while involving the community directly in the process. For instance, two experiences that illustrate how these approaches can be designed for success include the Broadmoor neighborhood recovery efforts and the newly formed Spirit of Charity Innovation District.
The new Spirit of Charity District represents another experience that may provide a model around equitable development. The new district is being organized as an economic development vehicle that includes job creation, affordable housing and potentially new government office space or facilities as well. As The Times-Picayune describes it, the district “The plan is to eventually create a governance structure for the district that will be able to coordinate development proposals and financial incentives; the Greater New Orleans Foundation is taking the lead on preparing a strategic plan that would set up incentives and give the community a voice for what ends up in the district.” Through a Tax-Increment Financing vehicle, the district hopes to “use a key incentive to ensure the eventual developer complies with goals set for disadvantaged business enterprise participation, as well as pursuing a mix of training and job opportunities.”
The Broadmoor Neighborhood Recovery Process Following a strategic planning process that was community-led, the Broadmoor neighborhood recovery process utilized both a recovery district and a community development corporation, all underpinned by resident volunteer participation. The resulting effort leveraged over 13,000 volunteers and over 300,000 hours of volunteer public service to the community in early first years. The neighborhood formed its own community development corporation, and leveraged over $40 million in resources to restore the neighborhood’s historic housing stock, the Andrew H. Wilson Charter School, and the Rosa F. Keller Library and Community Center. Residents successfully lobbied the Louisiana legislature for a bill to designate Broadmoor as a Neighborhood Improvement District. Broadmoor voters approved funding the improvement district through an annual $100 parcel-fee. These investments tipped the scales and made the neighborhood an attractive place for investment, and drew new residents. Over the first seven years, the effort led to the recovery of 85% of all Broadmoor residential properties – in an area where 100% of properties suffered between 6 and 10 feet of flooding following Hurricane Katrina.
Incorporating Equitable Development Principles into a World-Class Waterfront Neighborhood Cities across the country, from Houston to Seattle to Atlanta, are having conversations about equitable development and experimenting with new tools to address the issue and encourage more positive development outcomes. During the Lower Ninth Ward community process, there was much discussion of the development potential along the Lower Ninth Ward’s riverfront. The riverfront carries spectacular views of the city skyline and represents a high value asset for future development. The big vision to emerge from that discussion – which was received with both interest and some controversy – was the idea of creating a public realm riverfront experience, such as a boardwalk and pier-based development, tied to and leveraging synergies with the existing Opportunity Zone. The team felt that the interplay between the warehouse district and wharf and the Opportunity Zone is strategically important for the Lower Ninth Ward’s future. It was also noted that potential riverfront industrial adaptation has the potential to destabilize other activity in the Lower Ninth and create pressures that could lead to displacement and gentrification if the process is not well-managed. It requires compatible uses with light industrial and maritime activity, so there is potential for workforce development and job creation for the neighborhood. The team feels that aligning the
Opportunity Zone with community interests on Claiborne and Saint Claude Avenues will encourage positive investment in the community. It was also noted as a potential red flag for the community that the existence of the Opportunity Zone designation wasn’t well communicated to the community beforehand.
What are Community Benefit Agreements? The Partnership for Working Families describes Community Benefits Agreements as follows: “A Community Benefits Agreement or “CBA” is a contract signed by community groups and a real estate developer that requires the developer to provide specific amenities and/or mitigations to the local community or neighborhood. Site-specific community benefits agreements (CBAs) ensure that particular projects create opportunities for local workers and communities. Often, however, these projects change the city’s development paradigm; when decision makers realize what well-considered projects with specific benefits attached can bring to the community, the city enacts community benefits policies that set the stage for lifting thousands of people out of poverty.” While the specific details of each CBA vary, the represent “a project-specific agreement between a developer and a broad community coalition that details the project’s contributions to the community and ensures community support for the project. Addressing a range of community issues, properly structured CBAs are legally binding and directly enforceable by the signatories. In some cases, the community benefits terms from a CBA may be incorporated into an agreement between the local government and the developer, such as a development agreement or lease. That arrangement gives the local government the power to enforce the community benefits terms. CBAs allow a win-win approach to development: meaningful, up-front communication between the developer and a broad community coalition decreases developers’ risk while maximizing the positive impact of development on local residents and economies.” Since the late 1990s, CBAs have been pursued in a host of cities, from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. The Partnership for Working Families has a host of resources related to CBAs here: http://www.forworkingfamilies.org/ resources.
There were many questions during the process about how the Lower Ninth Ward community might successfully organize and employ a range of tools to leverage this opportunity for the benefit of local residents. The team felt that there is a need for the community to organize and establish some well-structured approaches to leverage the Opportunity Zone and take advantage of it – but also to ensure that it serves the community interest rather than becoming a source of displacement and gentrification. The team recommended several tools to use in combination to address these opportunities and challenges. They included establishment of an L9 Community Development Partnership to leverage existing human and cultural infrastructure, provide community governance structures and partnering structures for government and private interests, apply needs assessments that inform decisions, help bring investment to the table, and focus on the details of physical development as it occurs, as well as potentially beneficial programming that could serve local business and job creation. The team suggested several policy approaches to address equitable development outcomes. They included the creation of an Adjacent Development Permit Allowance and Community Benefits Agreements. For instance, Adjacent Community Benefits Agreement for development could leverage future development in upzoned areas to direct funds to the Lower Ninth for revitalization and job creation. As physical development sites come on line, funds would be reinvested in the L9 Development Partnership and used toward neighborhood reinvestment. The Lower Ninth Ward could be designated as a Community Benefits District to further the goal of equitable development. The details of benefits would be determined through the process of the agreement and they typically vary across jurisdictions, but they have shown to bring positive impacts to vulnerable neighborhoods by providing for affordable housing incentives, local business hiring incentives, neighborhood job creation, workforce development and preferences for local minority businesses that allow local residents and businesses to access and benefit directly from the investments that occur in new development in ways that traditional development processes often preclude. One Example: Washington, DC’s Experience
sanitation, trash collection, and the District's annual budget. The city explained the development of this system of ANCs as follows:
Washington, D.C. presents a case that demonstrates how a citywide network of neighborhoods can be introduced to change civic culture and lead transformation efforts. In the early 2000s, Washington, DC began a renaissance when Mayor Anthony Williams created the “Neighborhood Action” program. First, the District created a system of 37 Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs). The ANCs were developed to advise and collaborate with government on policies and programs that affect neighborhoods, including those that involve traffic, parking, recreation, street improvements, liquor licenses, zoning, economic development, police protection,
The intent of the legislation that created ANCs was to ensure the DC government had input from an advisory board made up of residents of the neighborhoods directly affected by government action. The ANCs present their positions and recommendations on issues to various District government agencies, the Executive Branch, and the DC Council. 47
The impact of the ANCs on development was unmistakable. In many neighborhoods, it changed the development conversation because developers would first approach an ANC seeking support for their proposals before ever approaching city agencies for regulatory approval. At a broader level, the mayor sought assistance from AmericaSpeaks, a national non-profit organization, to develop an innovative program called Neighborhood Action. It consisted of a two-year management cycle that integrated strategic planning, budgeting, performance contracts and a public score card. The centerpiece of this initiative was a series of bi-annual Citizen Summits that drew 3,000 residents to review strategic plans for the city in a New England-style town hall meeting. Strategic Neighborhood Action Plans (SNAPs) were created by citizens across the city, and annual citizen summits drew thousands of participants to set citywide priorities. After incorporating summit feedback and action items from Strategic Neighborhood Action Plans (SNAPS), the citywide plan was revised and then shared again. Additional input was used to finalize the plan, which then became the basis for the city budget and performance contracts with city leaders. A public scorecard system was developed to hold government accountable for implementation of the plan.
piers. There will be a 6,000-seat concert hall, several hotels and office buildings, rental apartments, condos, restaurants and shops, public plazas and parks.” The developer describes it as a “magnificent opportunity to undo the urban renewal legacy of the past and recreate the Southwest Waterfront as a great world-class destination.”
During the first six years of the initiative, Neighborhood Action held three Citizen Summits involving thousands and one Youth Summit involving 1,400 youth. In addition, follow-up meetings and forums and ongoing neighborhood-based planning processes involved hundreds of local residents across the city. During this period, Neighborhood Action engaged more than 12,000 people in setting the city’s priorities. As Mayor Williams said, “It’s an inspiration to see so many District residents come together working towards a common goal.” The process fundamentally altered the relationship between local government and residents, and leveraged new civic energies through a network of unofficial processes in neighborhoods across the city.
As City Councilman Charles Allen stated, “I’m very proud of the work of The Wharf and its partners to not only meet, but to far exceed, the goals for connecting District residents with good jobs, business opportunities, and affordable housing. The success of this effort demonstrates what’s possible when the local business community, nonprofit organizations, and the District government work to bring talented workers together with new opportunities. It’s the right way to grow a stronger District economy for all.” Phase One of the project has already been completed.
The project is carrying forward some of the ideals embedded in the planning process. “The Wharf is setting a new standard of community participation in real estate development in the District of Columbia. This includes building relationships with government agencies and community stakeholders, innovative local hiring initiatives, and financial support.” Incentives in the project were tied to specific requirements around housing, hiring, and local business. By 2016, the project had procured approximately $134 million in goods and services from DC Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) firms. Over 200 local residents had been hired in the construction process. The project is providing much-needed affordable housing as well. The Wharf includes a 30 per cent requirement for affordable housing, a requirement that 35 per cent of all retail goods have to come from small, local businesses, and that 25 per cent of the retail establishments must be owned by local businesses.
The Wharf builds upon the success of the nearby Yards project, a formerly industrial waterfront zone which still includes a Navy Yard. The new neighborhood – now the densest in the city - has incorporated public access to the waterfront, mixed use development, and important public space while achieving sustainability goals for the neighborhood. As one local blog noted, “The Wharf and The Yards could become examples for waterfront redevelopment that take into account and perfectly match residential, business, and ecologic concerns while also paying attention to the historic roots of the neighborhood.”
The results are unmistakable. Between 2000 and 2015, the city’s population grew by approximately 100,000 people, reversing the downward trend in population that had occurred for 50 years. The process took hold in neighborhood revitalization efforts that continue to transform the city. The Anacostia Waterfront Initiative is a good example of this dynamic. It was conceived as a 30-year, $10 billion collaboration involving DC & 19 regional and federal agency partners. Although the city has undergone several successive administrations since the initiative was conceived, it continues to impact development. Today, one finds several transformative projects that have emerged from this effort. Southwest Washington was once home to a working class African-American community, but in the 1950s it became the first major urban renewal project in America and 99 percent of the existing urban fabric was demolished, displacing over 23,000 residents in a top-down, undemocratic act. Today, developer PN Hoffman is building The Wharf, a $2 billion mixed-use project. The New York Times describes it as the “most ambitious plan to date to correct what is now regarded as an egregious error imposed on the city by people then thought to be visionary planners. When completed, the project will encompass 3.2 million square feet on 25 acres of land. It will also use 50 acres of water, with three new public
Washington, DC-11th Street Bridge Park Project The nearby 11th Street Bridge project is setting even more ambitious transformational goals. Its planning process has already involved over 200 meetings. It includes an Equity Task Force and Equitable Development Plan built into its strategy. It is setting a new precedent for future development in the area, encapsulated in the following exploration: “Why shouldn’t we as a community have an economic and housing preservation plan every time there is a development, and do it simultaneously to make sure that the development doesn’t push people out?”
The project involves the adaptive reuse of a bridge as a linear park and education center connecting neighborhoods on two sides of the Anacostia River. The neighborhood demographics are starkly different, with communities on the east side of the river facing a host of challenges regarding income, employment, education and health. The goal of this project is to reconnect the neighborhoods and ensure that equitable development can occur without displacing residents. Here is how they have described the process by which they have developed an Equitable Development Plan and timeline:
the residents and giving them a voice to protect against displacement and encourage equitable development. The half-century R/UDAT experience has demonstrated that successful communities often build novel partnerships, governance structures, and other mechanisms to focus energy on implementation. A few examples from this experience follow. Santa Fe Railyard Redevelopment, Santa Fe, New Mexico Implementing Mechanism: The Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation
“To assist with its equitable development work, the Bridge Park partnered with LISC DC, a community development organization with roots in Washington, D.C. for over 30 years. With the help of LISC DC, the Bridge Park’s staff formed an Equitable Development Task Force in the Fall of 2014 consisting of research and planning experts to review background data of the surrounding area and help guide the formation of an Equitable Development Plan. The goal of this process was to ensure that the Bridge Park had a clear understanding of the surrounding neighborhood demographics so that staff could make recommendations based on a solid foundation of data. For the past year, the Equitable Development Task Force has held meetings with community members and stakeholders, government officials, business owners and policy experts to identify actionable recommendations that the Bridge Park and its partners can take in three areas: Workforce Development, Small Business Enterprise and Housing. Over the course of these meetings, specific strategies within each of the three areas emerged. Actionable recommendations identified and vetted through this process are organized by issue area and strategy in this report.”
In Santa Fe, a conventional development slated for a former rail yard was rejected by the community in favor of a bold experiment that achieved an authentic community place celebrated by locals and recognized as a national model for placemaking. As one local leader noted, “It was an experiment in deep democracy which resulted in the Community Plan, approved by the City Council in 1997 as a conceptual Master Plan.” The plan was then developed through an innovative partnership that produced a uniquely local district celebrated by citizens. As a local account notes, “The Santa Fe Railyard Redevelopment is a testament to the power of community involvement in the realization of great civic spaces. When the 40-acre rail yard was threatened by private development in the early 1990s, the city mobilized to purchase and protect the historic site for a local vision. With involvement from over 6,000 community members, a master plan was developed and implemented over the next decade through a unique partnership between a non-profit community corporation and the Trust for Public Land. Today, Santa Fe enjoys a vibrant, multi-use civic space that preserves the industrial heritage of the rail line while strengthening the city's future. The historic rail depot now serves as the northern terminus of New Mexico's commuter rail, and the Railyard's cultural and commercial amenities draw new visitors every year.” Locals in Santa Fe now refer to the area as the community’s “family room,” as opposed to the central square downtown (the “living room”), a place where local residents gather to experience community. It is a remarkable achievement. As local architect Gayla Bechtol reflects, “People see it as a real community space. I’m most proud of the democracy that happened. Helping someone have a voice who otherwise wouldn’t have a voice in the process, was to me the most gratifying part. The greatest lesson is that we can work together.” The Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation (SFRCC) is the central implementing mechanism the community created. They describe their role and structure as follows:
They have been systematically moving forward on implementation of the plan. For instance, JPMorgan Chase & Co has invested $250,000 in City First Enterprises and 11th Street Bridge Park to create a Community Land Trust, which was one of the plan’s recommendations. Comprehensive Equitable Development Plans Other communities that have faced incredible growth rates and severe gentrification pressures have modeled citywide equitable development plans. Both Seattle and Austin have put in place these tools and a series of complementary strategies informed by them for various components, such as race and social justice initiatives, racial equity toolkits, equitable transportation resolutions, equitable development resolutions, and racial equity assessment tools. These are all tools that New Orleans could consider in the context of managing equitable development outcomes in the Lower Ninth Ward and other vulnerable neighborhoods.
“The Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation (SFRCC), a private 501C3 non-profit corporation, is responsible for the construction, leasing, property and public use management of the newly revitalized Railyard. SFRCC is also responsible for managing the entitlement of each building project proposed by its land lease tenants. SFRCC and the Trust for Public Land as well as other community partners were involved in developing this community asset with the support of the City of Santa Fe. SFRCC master leases 40 of the 50 acres of the North and Baca Street Railyards from the City of Santa Fe, which owns the property and 6 of the existing buildings. The non-profit
The R/UDAT Experience with Implementing Mechanisms This report has highlighted a number of potential tools the community can draw upon to build implementing mechanisms which can achieve new investment while involving 49
East Nashville, Tennessee
leases the existing City-owned buildings and the ground to developers of new buildings and manages the common areas adjacent to the City-managed streets, parking garage and public spaces. SFRCC serves as the bridge between the public and private sector. SFRCC has the autonomy to enter into private leases with private developers and businesses. SFRCC must balance the needs of the City of Santa Fe, the community and the private entities that comprise its tenants. SFRCC has both rights and obligations to the City and its tenants, pursuant to the various lease documents. SFRCC also serves as Project Manager and Contractor under City Professional Service Agreements for construction and repairs to City property throughout the project with $19.3 million in projects completed as of 2016. SFRCC manages the Railyard with a staff of 3.5 and the support of an active and diverse board of 18 volunteers. Monthly board meetings are open to the public and annual third-party financial audits are provided to the City of Santa Fe. 100% of SFRCC’s income is derived from ground rents and event management income. No City funding is provided for operating SFRCC. Even though SFRCC is a 501(c) nonprofit, it does not undertake traditional fundraising activities.”
Implementing Mechanism: ReDiscover East! Non-profit Organization In the late 1990s, East Nashville, Tennessee – like the Lower Ninth Ward - struggled with perceptions about its safety. The neighborhood was located across the Cumberland River from the downtown. Many locals referred to it as “the wrong side of the river,” and most Nashville citizens never crossed the bridge into East Nashville. As one local plan described it, “For years, East Nashville was considered a rough part of town, cut off from the urban core by the river and an interstate highway.” A major event catalyzed transformation in the neighborhood. As one local report describes it, “On April 16, 1998, a tornado touched down in Nashville. It tore through downtown before hopping across the Cumberland River to East Nashville, toppling some 20,000 trees citywide and damaging hundreds of homes and businesses. East Nashville, a patchwork of quirky neighborhoods and about 25,000 people, took the brunt.” In response, the community hosted a design assistance process. The first public workshop was held in the social housing complex, and drew 350 participants – mainly local residents of
the neighborhood. However, by the final presentation night, almost 1,000 people had turned out – and from all over the city. Many of them had crossed the bridge into the neighborhood for the first time, curious about the regeneration effort and eager to help support it. The strategy that the process produced was based on the connecting the assets present in the community and strengthening the urban fabric and public realm, particularly in the neighborhood’s heart – an area called “Five Points.” As a result of the process, a new organization was born, called “Rediscover East!” The non-profit organization played a critical role in the implementation effort, mobilizing hundreds of volunteers to re-plant trees and green the area, marshaling resources for redevelopment efforts, serving as an advocate for neighborhood interests, and building momentum for change. Reflecting on the neighborhood’s transformation some 15 years later, the former Mayor noted that, “For all its fury in tearing things apart, the tornado — for the first time in many decades — built a bridge across the Cumberland and brought our entire city together.” Today, East Nashville – like the Pearl District – is listed as one of the hippest neighborhoods in America, and draws artists and creative professionals from across the country to live and work in the community. It is the site of major art festivals and cultural events, home to unique retail experiences and social gathering places, and a thriving and family-friendly place.
tied up in another meeting, sent representatives from her office. But it’s also because dozens of Lower 9th Ward residents finally feel in charge of their own destiny.” This sentiment was underscored by Mayor Cantrell’s remarks at the opening public workshop, which captured the strategic moment facing the neighborhood: “Now what I see with the work that you’re doing – it’s not just about developing a plan, but developing something that we can implement as a city. And I’m here to say that what you’re working on is not a show. It’s now about show because we know when we only focus on the show what it truly delivers for you - and it hasn’t delivered too much. So what you are here to do this evening is work with our R/UDAT, and thank you so much for the architects who have stepped up to come back to Lower 9, to lift up the planning that you all did a long time ago, but at a time that I feel is the best time because it is about how we move forward and implement the vision that you all will set and have set for this community. So I’m here to really say 1) thank you for having the patience, and 2) ensuring you put in the work as you’ve already done and consistently you do, but to where it manifests into real action that you can see, you can touch, you can feel and that you can experience.” The Lower Ninth Ward’s moment for action has arrived. Everyone has contributions to make to the neighborhood’s future, and now is the time to drawn upon all the talents of residents and to partner and work together to take control of your future and to achieve your vision and aspirations.
Conclusion: A Community Altar Call The case studies noted in this report achieved success because the community residents came together to take control of their future. While they each utilized different implementing mechanisms, available resources, public-private partnerships, and a range of related tools, none of those mechanisms could be activated before the community had found common cause. Each community must bring its residents together behind a vision for public purpose as a prerequisite to establishing effective mechanisms that draw upon community involvement and public voice while connecting to resources at every level of government and the private sector. The Lower Ninth Ward community is facing the same opportunity now, and it is one that should not be passed on. The timing is right to bring residents together, build civic leadership and partner with the city to revitalize the neighborhood. The Lower Ninth Ward community has suffered since Katrina and it would be understandable to find a skeptical and reluctant citizenry now – particularly after numerous planning processes for the area have yielded little result. However, that is not what the R/UDAT team found. In fact, the team discovered a demonstrably different orientation from residents of the Lower Ninth Ward. People are yearning for action and seem ready to engage in new ways to achieve progress together. As one long-time resident observed, “there is a new energy. It feels like a new beginning.” As The New Orleans Advocate reported, “What is surprising is that the residents actually think they may be able to make some headway now, in a neighborhood where progress has long seemed to be stalled. That hope stems partly from residents’ close involvement with two newly elected officials, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and City Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen. Cantrell participated in Friday’s workshop, and Nguyen, who said she was 51
Team Roster & Thanks
KOFI BOONE, ASLA (TEAM LEADER)
She holds a Master of Urban Planning from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service in New York, NY and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA. Ms. Doerner is the co-founder of Velo City, a nonprofit urban planning education initiative that introduces young people to urban planning and design via bicycling.
Kofi Boone, ASLA is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at NC State University in the College of Design. Kofi is a Detroit native and a graduate of the University of Michigan (BSNR 1992, MLA 1995). Kofi’s research interests are the overlap between landscape architecture and environmental justice with a focus on democratic design and cultural landscapes. His current research explores the use of immersive design techniques and mixed reality visualization to enhance research, teaching, and extension work. He is a member of the College’s Experience Design Lab.
ELIZABETH KENNEDY, ASLA Elizabeth is a nationally recognized authority on the interpretation, preservation, and adaptive development of cultural heritage sites. Her portfolio of work includes the African Burial Ground National Monument, the Restoration of the Hunterfly Road Houses, Harlem Stage Performing Arts Center, and the Weeksville Heritage Center landscape. She founded Elizabeth Kennedy Landscape Architect, PLLC in 1994 specifically to assist redevelopment entities preserve community open space through design, and since has worked extensively with such organizations as the Abyssinian Development Corporation in Manhattan; New Direction Local Development Corporation in Queens; Tenants United for Better Living, the tenants’ rights organization of the Diego Beekman Houses in the Bronx; and Northwest Harlem Environmental Benefits Program Advisory Committee, for which she drafted the first natural systems-based open space conservancy template for an urban area.
Kofi is Vice President of Education and a Board Director of The Landscape Architecture Foundation and is a founding member of the American Society of Landscape Architects Environmental Justice Professional Practice Network. He is active in multidisciplinary activities ranging from the National Endowment for the Arts Designing Equity forum, to The Kenan Institute of Ethics Collaboratory featuring partnerships with researchers as Duke University and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He has worked with the Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative (HMDRRI) focusing on a community workshop in Princeville, NC and the development of Homeplace. Kofi has disseminated his work broadly including in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, PUBLIC: A Journal of Imagining America, and PRISM: Journal of Regional Engagement. Kofi serves as a reviewer for Elsevier academic journals. Currently, his article “Black Landscapes Matter” can be found in Ground Up, and he authored case studies featured in the new book Design as Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity.
Elizabeth is the Design Trust for Public Space research fellow for Designing for Security: Design Guidelines for the Art Commission of New York City, and received the E. Gorton Davis Fellowship in Landscape Architecture and Robert J. Eidlitz Fellowship in Architecture while at Cornell University. She has been a featured speaker on community redevelopment and urban design at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum and the Harvard GSD. She has served as distinguished juror for the Van Alen Institute and the ASLA, and has been a guest critic of student work at NJIT, NYBG, City College School of Architecture, Pratt Institute, Rutgers University, and Yale University School of Architecture.
NAOMI DOERNER Naomi Doerner is a dedicated urban planning professional with a passion and talent for engaging communities and growing coalitions. She specializes in sustainable and active transportation planning and advocacy, building support for walking, bicycling, and transit use. She has demonstrated leadership experience blending urban planning, advocacy, and innovative engagement strategies and successfully translates these into positive social change, a proud hallmark of her career. Naomi applies her experience at the Alliance for Biking & Walking as the Advocacy and Membership Manager. 53
DONALD I. KING, FAIA
Donald I. King is an architect with over 40 years of professional experience in the practice areas of planning, design and project management. He has specialized expertise in the design of community-based projects, healthcare facilities and multi-family and special needs housing. His practice has followed the central theme of community service, with a history of volunteerism among Detroit inner-city youth, in rebuilding a smoldering Watts and design work in Seattle for African-American, Latino/Latina-American and Asian-American groups. He held the position of Principal Architect of Environmental Works Community Design Center in Seattle before establishing his firm, Donald King Architects (DKA), focusing on community-based projects and affordable housing.
Mr. Ernst Valery is Managing Member and President of SAA | EVI and shares overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations and execution of SAA | EVI projects and relationships. Mr. Valery has successfully invested in and developed real estate in Maryland; Washington, D.C.; Pennsylvania; Virginia; California; & New York. For the past 16 years, he has been involved with development projects ranging from mixed-use, multi-tenant rental properties, single-family renovations and condominium conversions. Mr. Valery is the founder and president of SAA | EVI affiliate Ernst Valery Investments Corp. (EVI), a private, minority-owned real estate investment firm established in 2001. EVI invests in select underserved and undervalued key emerging domestic real estate markets, defined as urban transitional areas with high residential and retail demand. Mr. Valery has extensive experience in affordable and market rate housing development and investment, including providing due diligence capabilities and extensive skills in budget planning, design development, marketing, and the supervision and guidance of contractors, architects and engineers. He is responsible for the securing and structuring of financing, including expertise in securing Historic and New Markets tax credits.
Donald King is currently Principal Architect for his consultant practice, Mimar Studio, for pre-development planning, feasibility studies and concept design. He is an Affiliate Professor of Architecture in the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington. He is licensed to practice architecture in California, Hawaii and Washington and earned his Master of Architecture degree from University of California at Los Angeles and Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Wayne State University in Detroit.
Mr. Valery is also active in social entrepreneurship and volunteer work, including a collaboration with a team of professionals and graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Community Innovators Lab (MIT CoLab) to address housing finance needs in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, as well as efforts at incubating businesses around the world that help alleviate poverty and increase the earning potential of low income individuals, families, and communities.
Donald King was elevated to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows in 2000. He is one of 2,200 members of the prestigious College of Fellows and one of approximately 70 living African American Fellows. He is the recipient of several awards; including the AIA Seattle Medal of Honor, the U.S. Small Business Administration Minority Business Person of the Year for Region X and the Mayor of Seattle’s Small Business Award. His writings on planning, design and architectural practice, as well as articles on DKA, have been published in numerous books and periodicals.
JOEL MILLS Joel Mills is Senior Director of the American Institute of Architects’ Center for Communities by Design. The Center is a leading provider of pro bono technical assistance and democratic design for community success. Its programs have catalyzed billions of dollars in sustainable development across the country, helping to create some of the most vibrant places in America today. The Center’s design assistance process has been recognized with numerous awards and has been replicated and adapted across the world. Joel’s 24-year career has been focused on strengthening civic capacity and civic institutions around the world. This work has helped millions of people participate in democratic processes, visioning efforts, and community planning initiatives across four continents. In the United States, Joel has worked with over 100 communities, leading participatory processes that facilitated community-generated strategies for success. His past work has been featured in over 1,000 media stories,
His extensive community service portfolio includes service on the Board of Directors of the Seattle Monorail Project, the Seattle Planning Commission, the AIA national Scholarship Committee and the AIA Seattle Board of Directors. He is currently a Director at Large of the AIA National Board.
including ABC World News Tonight, Nightline, CNN, The Next American City, The National Civic Review, The Washington Post, and dozens of other sources. He has served on numerous expert working groups, boards, juries, and panels focused on civic discourse and participation, sustainability, and design. He has also spoken at dozens of national and international conferences and events, including the Remaking Cities Congress, the World Eco-City Summit, the Global Democracy Conference, the National Conference on Citizenship, and many others.
ERIN SIMMONS Erin Simmons is the Senior Director of Design Assistance at the Center for Communities by Design at the American Institute of Architects in Washington, DC. The Center is a leading provider of pro bono technical assistance and participatory planning for community revitalization. Through its design assistance programs, the AIA has worked in over 250 communities across 47 states, and has been the recipient of numerous awards including “Organization of the Year” by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and the “Outstanding Program Award” from the Community Development Society. Erin is a leading practitioner of the design assistance process, providing expertise, facilitation, and support for the Center’s Sustainable Design Assistance Team (SDAT) and Regional and Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT ) programs. In this capacity, she works with AIA components, members, partner organizations and community leaders to provide technical design assistance to communities across the country. Her portfolio includes work in over 100 communities across the United States. A frequent lecturer on the subject of creating livable communities and sustainability, Erin contributed to the publication “Assessing Sustainability: A guide for Local Governments”. Prior to joining the AIA, Erin worked as historic preservationist and architectural historian for an environmental and engineering firm, where she practiced preservation planning, created historic district design guidelines and zoning ordinances, and conducted historic resource surveys. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Florida State University and a Master’s degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Georgia.
Bethel AME Church & MLK High School
The team would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to everyone who participated in this important community conversation about the future of the Lower Ninth Ward. Great communities are made by committed citizens working together, and this process has demonstrated the Lower Ninth Ward’s commitment to its future. The team would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions to organizing and supporting the process.
The team would like to thank Bethel AME Church and Martin Luther King High School for generously hosting workshops and studio sessions during the community process.
City Leadership and Agency Support
Willie Calhoun,The Lower Ninth Ward Voter’s Coalition
Lonnie Hewitt, Hewitt Washington Assoc./ New Orleans AIA
New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell and Councilwoman Cindy Nguyen have been directly involved in this process and offered their critical support to the community from the beginning. A range of staff across city agencies participated in workshops during the process, offering key insights and information about past and current efforts as well as future plans.
Chandra McCormick, L9 Center for the Arts
Steve Martin, Friends of King Charter Organization
Keith Calhoun, L9 Center for the Arts
Greta Gladney, Renaissance Project
Austin Allen, LSU/ DesignJones
Andrew Stephens, HCNA /John C. Williams Architects LLC
R/UDAT Steering Committee
Jeanelle Holmes, Holy Cross Neighborhood Association (HCNA) Diane Jones Allen, DesignJones LLC/ Bethel AME
The team is very grateful to Lettermans for providing us with mapping and printing assistance.
Steve Ringo, Quality Cleaner Inc. Ronald Lewis, House of Dance and Feathers
New Orleans’ Design Studio Volunteers The team would like to extend its gratitude to AIA New Orleans and the following local professionals that contributed to the design studio sessions during the process and helped produce many of the illustrations, concepts and diagrams contained in this report, as well as the volunteers who helped support the process. Amanda Rivera, Eskew Dumez & Ripple
Colleen McHugh, The Water Institute
Jessica Walker, Walker Run Studio
Stacey Linh - Warehaus
Andrew Sternad, Waggoner & Ball
Create a Lower Ninth Ward Adjacent Benefits Agreement which assess permit fees for zoning variances that benefits adjacent communities, prioritizing those with the lowest incomes and longest commute travel times: Yes=31 No=4
The National Team tested community alignment with its key proposals in their final presentation. Attendees were asked to fill out surveys which asked if they supported a wide array of tools for advancing the Ward’s interests. In a more fully developed rubric, where the strategies are developed and well understood by participants, a survey or other tool can also evaluate the alignment proposals have with important community strategies. What follows below is the raw data collected from the surveys. It is important to note that this does not represent a scientific survey instrument or public opinion poll. It is simply an indicator from the participants who were present at the final presentation who participated in the survey. More scientific evaluation tools could be utilized by the community to further test these proposals as implementation gets underway. Nonetheless, the general observation from the raw data is that there is widespread support for many of the ideas that emerged from this community process.
Some noted uncertainty about their position with a “?” or left it blank. “Will this come back to communities, will people be able to “buy” variances?” Create a Transportation Access to Opportunity Cost Center that provides subsidies for transit passes, bicycle repairs or bicycle purchases, and a pilot Micro circulator transit service (“Barracks Bus”): Yes=31 No=7 “really needed” Develop a pilot RFP for micro-transit circulator, incentivizing local business and jobs opportunity: Yes=27 No=10
Total Sample = 43 responses One meta comment written on the facing sheet:
There were a couple question marks and maybes as well.
“So sorry to hear no mention of the things I called about. Seems the community engagement process insufficient to say the least. Too many people who worked for over a year – only 50 people agreed on the recommendations we developed over many days, weeks. Just because a developer “owns” it- story not ours. What about the community benefits agreements?! Not in site!”
Integrate Complete Streets into street improvement for a Green Grid within the L9 Ward Opportunity Zone: Yes=32 No=6 There were a couple of “I think” and “maybes”. Develop a pilot RFP for micro-transit that incentivizes a local business to respond, creating economic and employment opportunities: Yes=28 No=7
Infrastructure Establish a Lower Ninth Ward Development Partnership: Yes= 38 No= 1
There were a couple of Maybes here as well.
Pursue phased incremental development of infrastructure, prioritizing a green grid in the Opportunity Zone: Yes=30 No=6
Leverage FEMA, Community Development Block Grant and other monies as matches for additional monies to create water retention infrastructure within the Opportunity Zone creating a green grid: Yes=31 No=6
Launch or support a L9 Ward green workforce development program, start with hiring neighborhood youth to mow, maintain and learn about greenscaping: Yes=36 No=3
Activate the Louis Armstrong Elementary School to anchor the Lower 9th ward opportunity zone; Street Calming demonstrations, mural, planting beautification and pop-up container demonstration: Yes= 30 No=6
Economic Development Forming an Economic Development District: Yes= 37 No=4
Develop a mixed-use anchor development, start at the Louis Armstrong Elementary; Opportunities include Civil Rights Museum, groceries, clinic, local nonprofit office space, housing: Yes= 37 No=3
“We need business incentive programs vs. an economic development district (a tax on residents)”
Create Opportunity Zone: Yes=34 No=4
Opportunity Zone development permit allowance to fund housing and community-benefit projects: Yes=39 No=1
“Can this be expanded to other parts of the L9?”
“This sounds really hard to establish”
“already created, isn’t it?” “already exists”
Bundle local and federal tax credits as incentive to encourage developer funding of projects: Yes= 29 No=6
Develop Cultural Infrastructure: Yes=33 No=7
“what does this look like?”
“should encourage non-profit partnership development”
Coordinate and phase development with roadway work and infrastructure: Yes= 36 No=1
“We need more funding than tax credits. Have to make sure this doesn’t overemphasize rentals. LIHTC is only for rentals”
“Will S&WB &Public Works cooperate?”
Acquire and develop St. Maurice Warehouse: Yes= 21 No=9
Guidelines for compatible infill development: Yes= 32 No=4
“work on the projects that are already owned but not off the ground yet”
“no-Zoning in place already”
Adopt climate change and flood risk adaptation measures: Yes=37 No=3
“would be nice!”
“make sure levees are sound”
“Long term – have to stabilize neighborhood housing first”
Green infrastructure and complete streets development to enhance and connect public realm: Yes=34 No=4
Innovate housing delivery for speed of erection, economy and job creation: Yes=26 No=5 (a couple maybes)
Create guidelines for compatible infill development: Yes=25 No=6
“How is this different than Make it Right?” “Love the core idea!”
Update urban design framework: Yes=19 No=7
One participant wrote “Enforce Existing Code Enforcement Regulations” as a meta comment across this section in lieu of specific responses.
(a few “?” responses and lot of no response)
Another wrote “we should be focusing on the same goals and issues as Housing NOLA and not try to do something on our own as a neighborhood – that just makes it harder for people to develop.”
“Masterplan was updated every few years already” Create neighborhood design guidelines and local design review board: Yes= 24 No=6
A third wrote, “Where is the lot-clearing tactic? A green workforce of neighborhood youth won’t be sufficient – too slow to develop for immediate needs.”
“We already have safety and permits and HDLC, this seems like it will increase barriers” “Are there ways to keep some neighborhood control of what outsiders build?” 59
Adopt Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) policy and create urban design guidelines: Yes=21 No=7 “Who is going to fund?” Adopt small scale mixed-use development of two-story buildings: Yes=27 No=4 “Need economic incentives created for development to want to do this” “Who is going to fund?”
The Lower Ninth Ward: New Orleans R/UDAT Report Facillitated by The Center for Communities by Design, a program of The American Institute of Architects
Regional and Urban Design Assistance Team report for the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans