The MIR Project

While federal and state governments work on policy plans and implementations concrete action after Katrina was undertaken also. Brad Pitt initiated the MIR-project (Make it Right-project, as a reaction to the slow action taken by the American government and the initial emergency. Pitt helped residents of the Lowr 9th Ward to rebuild. He started an architecture competition to gain ideas how to rebuild the area sustainably. Make it Right aims to be a catalyst for redevelopment of the Lower 9th Ward by building a neighbourhood comprised of safe and healthy homes that are inspired by Cradle to Cradle thinking, with an emphasis on quality of design, while preserving the spirit of the communities culture. The goal is to accomplish this quickly on order to give residents the chance to return to their homes as soon as possible. Immediate action was taken by set up temporary buildings in sharp pink colours to attract global attention and to make clear that the residents are not forgotten (Fig. 3.72).

Pitt asked four local, four American and five international architects with a reputation in sustainable building to design affordable, sustainable and reproducable houses for Lower 9th Ward, which need to be resistant to new dike breeches. All architects designed houses that are in one way or another lifted from ground level (Figs. 3.73 and 3.74).

The initiative of Brad Pitt illustrates that high quality designs of the homes are raising attention for the situation and increase public awareness. Concrete and visible support to problems of individuals is able to create the start of redevelopment. Meanwhile, state and federal authorities find themselves back in time-consuming processes of defining regulations and policies on the most appropriate approach to deal with coastal protection and restoration. Extensive analyses of the lack in current protection systems and talks on responsibilities are in the way of taking appropriate actions. And despite the fact that an integrated approach is proposed by both the State of Louisiana and USACE it seems that political decision-making systems and procedures are in the way of change. At the same time Ike and Gustav gain strength and attack the southern coast of Louisiana. Hopefully, next hurricane season can

Figure 1Donalüsonvllie to the GuH A

This alignment follows the upland margin of the Barataria Basin wetlands. If a traditional earthen levee were used, (his alignment would minimize further disruptions to the basin hydrology. However, the length of this alignment would Increase construction, operation, aid maintenance costs, as well as the number of structures needed for drainage, pipeline, and water channel crossings. As a result, this alignment includes more potential locations for structural failure. In addition, this alignment provides no water storage landward of the levee, If the structure were overtopped, water would flow into populated areas, The West Bank and Vicinity project levees would also need to be raised beyond the level provided by the Corps's ongoing work., in order to achieve a greater than level ol protection for the West Bank ol metro New Orleans. There are questions as to how feasible it would be to raise these levees—both technically and economically, Ring levees would need to be added around central basin communities, including Chackbay. Kreemer. Crown Point. Jean Lafitte. and Lafitte to provide a 1% level of protection for these communities.

Figure 1Donalüsonvllie to the GuH A

Figure t7. DonakfsonviSo to iho Gulf Alignment: #2-Hwy 90,

Because it would be built near Highway 90, an existing hydrotogic barrier in the basin, this alignment would minimize further disruptions to water flow patterns. In fact, when coupled with needed drainage improvements under Highway 90, this alignment could improve water exchange throughout the basin. Its shorter length would reduce construction, operations, and maintenance costs, and it would require fewer water channel, pipeline, drainage and other ancillary structures. As a result, this alignment would have fewer potential locations For structural failure, However, this alignment would stiB have iferect impacts on wetlands. In addition, if this alignment were built, the W6st Bank and Vicinity project levees would need to be raised beyond the level provided by the Corps's ongoing work, in order to achieve a greater than 1% level of protection for the West Bank of metro New Orleans. There are questions as to how feasible it would be to raise these levees—both technically and economically. A ring levee would also have to be built around Crown Point. Jean Lafitte, and Lafitte to provide a 1% level of protection to Ihese communities.

Figure t7. DonakfsonviSo to iho Gulf Alignment: #2-Hwy 90,

Figure IB. DonaMsowiie to the Gulf Alignment: J3-GIWW,

Fig. 3.70 Hurricane protection: Donaldsonville to the Gulf Alignment options: Swamp, HWY90, GIWW (Source: CPRA, 2008)

Figure IB. DonaMsowiie to the Gulf Alignment: J3-GIWW,

This alignment would follow the Gulf Intracoastal Water Way roughly between Oakvllio In Plaquemines Parish and LaRose in Lafourche Parish. It would provide space for temporary water storage should overtopping occur, and it could be designed to help direct water to areas such as eastern Terrebonne Parish, which would otherwise be difficult to reach using river diversions. It would also protect central Basin communities, including Crown Point, Jean Lafitte, and Lafitte. However, if it were not properly designed to increase wetland sustainabiiity in conjunction with necessary restoration projects, this alignment would further stress ecosystems that support commercially and recreationally important fish and wildlife species in Barataria Basin. Innovative designs and technologies will need to be used to ensure the sustainabiiity of the basin's wetlands. Improve reliability of the protection Structure, and reduce maintenance costs.

PW Rflvisid S-2-07"

Fig. 3.70 Hurricane protection: Donaldsonville to the Gulf Alignment options: Swamp, HWY90, GIWW (Source: CPRA, 2008)

be approached with more realised coastal protection measures at a higher safety level. The only thing necessary is just to start realising the proposed measures in the Master Plans on the Coast.

Fig. 3.71 Hurricane protection in Plaquemines Parish (Source: CPRA, 2008)
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Fig. 3.73 Design by MVRDV (Source:

3.6 Conclusion

The coast is a vulnerable part of land in times of rapid climate change and rapid sea level rise. It not only is under threat of serious attacks from hurricanes, storms and high tides and may well lose parts of its size, a more serious threat must be considered, namely the increasing possibility of a breakthrough. This places many people and property at risk. The way to deal with these increasing problems can be approached in different ways. The rise of sea level can be accepted and be integrated in the urban design. The Hamburg example illustrates that it even becomes possible to live outside the primary dike-protection. Another option is to combine different risk levels in the same area. In the Thames Gateway strong dikes and barriers are built, but at the same time flood risk is integrated in urban designs along the Thames. And the third level is the most innovative one: let the city float and make use of different tides in the lay out of the (flexible) city. The example of New Orleans shows

Fig. 3.74 Design by Trahan (Source:

Fig. 3.74 Design by Trahan (Source:

that political-cultural habitat (responsibility thinking and historic existing low safety levels) and the size of the disaster almost paralyses realisation of plans. Innovative and immediate ideas, like the Make it Right movement is able and needs to solve a part of the problem. It seems that not necessarily more money is needed to provide quick solutions, but a breakthrough in the procedural dikes of existing decision making may make a difference. Finally, the innovations in the Netherlands invented at the national level could enhance natural processes to strengthen the coastal defence. A sand motor, which provides the coast, dunes and wetlands with enough sediment to grow along with the sea level or the introduction of broad integrated and multifunctional dikes are such innovations.

What becomes clear after all: if the sea level rises rapidly (up to 1 m at the end of the century) the regular technologies become more and more inadequate and innovative and integrative solutions, which make use of the power of natural processes need to be proposed.


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