Continued Demolition Threatens New Orleans Character

In post-Katrina New Orleans, a fine line exists between razing potentially deadly structures, and harnessing a zeal for wholesale redevelopment.
October 7, 2008, 2pm PDT | Mike Lydon
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"Its proponents call it New Urbanism; detractors consider it another form of gentrification. In a nutshell, it's the effort to restore or create the essence of a city based on walkable neighborhoods and placing the things we need - such as grocery stores and doctor's offices - in the same area where we live.

Experts say New Orleans is the perfect laboratory to implement this strategy, and its elements are already in practice in neighborhoods such as the French Quarter, Mid-City and Uptown.

The 800-pound gorilla in the room is what happens to thousands of structures in the city that remain in limbo, hung up in the Road Home process or abandoned and teetering on the brink of collapse. How we implement New Urbanism or any form of recovery with the status and future of so many buildings is uncertain.

The Road Home is an issue all its own. For now, we'll address demolitions. Activist Matt McBride's database puts the number of demolition permits filed with the city since Katrina at 12,700 and climbing."

Thanks to Sandy Sorlien

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Published on Monday, October 6, 2008 in New Orleans City Business
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