Its (Big) Easy Being Green

In the effort to rebuild New Orleans, sustainable design isnt a luxuryits a necessity. By Alec Appelbaum

Out of the disaster that Hurricane Katrina dumped on New Orleans’ poor, a greener future is beginning. Over the summer, the municipal government floated ideas about focusing rebuilding in “dry” areas. Understandably, residents from harder-hit neighborhoods had their own ideas. And amazingly, those ideas took over. Knowing that only sustainable design would allow their ecologically fragile communities to survive future storms, they appealed to national and local foundations to recruit leading urban planners to help them plan green. That effort, which began with initial workshops on October 14th, will lead to an official proposal for government-funded rebuilding projects—a document called the Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP). Word has it that the UNOP building vision will be humane—and green.

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