Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan

New Orleans, Louisiana

The Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan provides a new science, engineering, and design-based framework for a resilient and sustainable New Orleans region at all scales. Over the course of two years, Waggonner & Ball led an international network of experts in water management creating an unprecedented dialogue among industry, government, economic development, and nonprofit leaders. The resulting Plan works in tandem with the existing levee system and Louisiana’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan, but offers a paradigm shift from conventional water management toward a system that values water as an asset. Proposed retrofits strengthen existing corridors, and broaden the hurricane protection concept of “multiple lines of defense” to include urban water management. By living with water™, we can solve the problems created by flooding and subsidence but also improve safety, quality of life, and economic opportunities.

The Plan, inspired by the firm’s Dutch Dialogues initiatives, is a living document created to inspire and guide long-range planning and strategic investments for the next fifty years. Because water knows no boundaries, implementation must occur across political lines and at all scales. The Plan includes systems proposals, district plans, designs for demonstration projects, and implementation strategies that embody the following principles: 1) Living with Water™, 2) Slowing and Storing Stormwater, 3) Circulating and Recharging Surface Waters and Groundwater, 4) Working with Nature, 5) Designing for Adaptation, and 6) Working Together. The Plan is publically available for download at


2013, Innovation Award, National Association of Development Organizations
2014, Excellence Award for a Plan, American Planning Association, Louisiana Chapter
2015, National Planning Excellence Award for Environmental Planning, American Planning Association
2015, Honor Award in Master Planning and Urban Design, AIA New Orleans

Related Publications

“New Orleans After Katrina: Building America’s Water City”, Proceedings of Built Environment , 2014   Built Environment    Buy from Alexandrine Press    
New Orleans Under Reconstruction: The Crisis of Planning, by Carol M. Reese, Michael Sorkin, and Anthony Fontenot , 2014   Buy on Amazon    
Urban Landscape and Climate Change -, IABR - 2014 - URBAN BY NATURE , 2014   IABR    
“New Orleans Goes with the Flow”, Architectural Record, 2015   New Orleans Goes with the Flow   
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Living System Overall Plan; Image: H+N+S Landscape Architects
Key Planning Layers; Image: Waggonner & Ball
Lafitte Blueway, Wet Condition; Image: Bosch Slabbers
Lakeview Floating Streets, Wet condition; Image: Bosch Slabbers
London Canal, Proposed Condition; Image: Waggonner & Ball
Lower Ninth Ward Plan; Image: Waggonner & Ball
Mirabeau Water Gardens; Image: Waggonner & Ball
Image: Waggonner & Ball
Overall Perspective; Image: Palmbout Urban Landscapes