Project Lower 9th

This blog is an archive of design process created by multi-disciplinary students from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. We are exploring how design can make a difference in the course of reuniting Lower 9th Ward residents. Please join our journey in helping the people of New Orleans.

February 24, 2006

Addressing Assumptions about New Orleans

Assumption 1
Many New Orleans’ neighborhoods were poor and rundown, the streets were terrible and crime was a problem. Who would want to come back to that grime?

Our take
It is true that many citizens of New Orleans are poor and simple people. What a large number of outsiders do not understand is that the people of these communities have a rich and historical connection to their culture. A large aspect of their culture is the community. Kill the community, kill the culture.

Assumption 2
I can help New Orleans by designing flood proof neighborhoods. Green spaces will raise the quality of life and sustainable design will solve housing problems.

Our Take
New Orleans needs a lot of help, but designers are counting their chickens before the eggs hatch. A great design in the studio does not necessarily translate to a good design in everyday life. We need to close the books, stop the rhetoric, visit the devastated neighborhoods, and discover how design can truly matter.

Assumption 3
New Orleans is still flooded and in mayhem.

Our Take
New Orleans is drained and the levees are repaired. Not only is the water drained but the population has departed as well. Before Katrina, New Orleans was a city of approximately 400,000. Presently, the population is around 90,000 along with 40,000 out of state workers.

Assumption 4
As long as the French Quarter
survives New Orleans will be all right.

Our Take
The French Quarter is an important tourist draw, but New Orleans was made up of diverse, small, family businesses. Without the return of small privately owned businesses, New Orleans will not be able to survive.


  • At 1:16 PM, Blogger Catherine said…

    Impressive! So glad to see you're taking the project a step further in every direction. When your design comes to fruition it wll reflect your thoughtful research and genuine concern not only for the small businesses but for the individuals in the community, and that alone will set you guys apart and make your project one to respect and model after. :) Looking forward to your updates!


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