More than just Rethinking Katrina


From 21th to 24th October the 2016 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO takes places in New Orleans. While meeting in Louisiana, obviously, one topic has top priority: resilient coastal landscapes. Nevertheless ASLA proves a diversity of other up-to-date topics.

The ‘Great Deluge’, the consequences of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 affected more than 80 per cent of New Orleans’ surface. The city known for its Laissez-faire-mentality, the Jazz and Mardi Gras experienced a big depression not only in development but also in its economy, ecology, technical and social infrastructure. Years of rebuilding and revitalization followed – every action with the aim of preventing the next flood.

Revitalization project “Lafitte Greenway”

One of these projects is the Lafitte Greenway, a green corridor between Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi. Parallel to ten other ASLA education sessions Daniel R. Samuels (AIA, friends of lafitte greenway) presented the revitalization project in New Orleans this morning and highlighted the power of cooperation between different stakeholders.
After Katrina, the former railway road was no-man’s-land. But thanks to the partnership between ASLA and the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Programm, we now find here a 2.6 mile bike and pedestrian trail which connects two of New Orleans’ largest parks as well as multiple neighborhoods. But the cooperation of the resident-based group ‘friends of lafitte greenway’ shows the real success of the project. Thanks to working very closely with residents, professionals and the municipality, the organization was part of this process from the beginning. Nowadays the group continues to pursue the greenway’s aims to create a safe greenway which links the neighborhoods and to establish a green corridor with sport, health and gardening offers.

2016 ASLA offers diversity

Besides revitalization solutions, ASLA’s programme today made clear that the event in New Orleans is more than just ‘Rethinking Katrina’ – we talked about new ways of bringing healthy food to urban communities as well as how linking Big Data with Community Scale Resiliency could help to improve climate adaptation tools. We are really looking forward to tomorrow’s programme!