National Disaster Resilience Competition: City of New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana

A planning framework for the New Orleans Gentilly Resilience District that reclaims the city’s delta geography to provide a replicable national model for urban resilience. 

The proposal is founded in the belief that New Orleans’ urban environments are inevitably linked to the city’s historic and geographic context. The resulting plan offers a paradigm shift from conventional water management toward a system that values water as an asset. Proposed retrofits range in scale and typology to strengthen existing corridors and to guide strategic investments in the Gentilly Resilience District.

Building on ten years of New Orleans planning efforts, the proposal addresses issues from urban water management to job creation. The proposal is built on four initiatives: 1) Urban Water, 2) Community Adaptation, 3) Reliable Energy and Smart Systems, and 4) Coastal Restoration. These projects and programs work together to address critical challenges around flood risk, climate change, and energy interruptions. Gentilly adapts to its geographic context to become the city’s first Resilience District with improved safety, quality of life, and economic opportunities. Funding has been awarded for the project. 

This project won a 2016 AIA Louisiana Merit Award, along with an AIA New Orleans Honor Award, the highest level of recognition.


2016, Honor Award for Master Planning and Urban Design, AIA New Orleans
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Gentilly’s current urban fabric adapts to embrace its geographic location as a delta city.
Addressing problems: overwhelmed drainage systems, subsidence, and wasted water assets.
The Gentilly Resilience District plan.
Collaborative Design Workshops with public agencies, designers, and planners.
The impact of the proposed projects and programs on flood volume.
Elysian Fields Avenue is one of the proposed Blue-Green Corridors and it connects Gentilly to downtown New Orleans.
The Mirabeau Water Gardens project in the heart of Gentilly.
Investments on private property to reduce shared flood risk.
The proposal provides a transformational vision for Gentilly and the city and region beyond.