The strategies begin at the scale of the backyard, as in our brochure, Project Backyard, which describes how each property can contribute to the creation of a larger wetland through gardening. The neighbors loved it.
Located between the Industrial Canal and Lake Pontchartrain, Plum Orchard is vulnerable to flooding from two sources. Funded initially by a HUD grant and subsequently by ACORN Housing, Gans studio and dArchitects worked with the citizens of Plum Orchard to develop incremental adaptations to climate change.
We produced a master plan for twelve blocks where every climate strategy has additional neighborhood benefit: playgrounds, mixed use economic development of high ground, improved transportation networks for bus and bike and energy self sufficiency to name a few.
On ground level, swales guide water towards a wetland while existing homes are raised above the flood plain. Cisterns lie beneath new development on higher ground. This continuous landscape manages the water from a ten year flood internally and, with connection to civic pumps, can sustain the neighborhood during a 100 year event.
The strategies could benefit many low-lying coastal suburbs in an age of climate change
To learn more about this project you can read :
Below the Sill Plate in Beyond Shelter: Architecture and Human Dignity. Marie Aquilino ed. Metropolis Books
Plum Orchard Mon Amour in New Orleans Under Reconstruction, Reese and Sorkin eds, Verso Books
The Coastal Suburb and the Goose in Boundaries #2
Repositioning in Place in Evasions of Power Levy ed. U Penn
ACORN Housing hired dArchitects and Gans studio to replicate these planning principles in other neighborhoods of New Orleans East and the Lower Ninth Ward where they had control of 350 adjudicated properties. (For the architecture see Houses for New Orleans).