Designing for Open Space Equity in New Orleans

MLA students in LA 7041 Urban Systems Studio in the spring 2018 semester assessed the public parks and open spaces of the city of New Orleans, and collaborated with nonpofit Parks for All on an initiative to develop a report card to grade parks and open spaces to create a guide that will help promote a beautified and accessible park system.

The students created to share the project with the public.

“As a native to New Orleans, this studio affected me on a personal level,” said Sophie Lott, MLA ’19 candidate. “I had the opportunity to rediscover the place that I thought I knew so well on a new level. History, nature, and culture have molded this city, and through research and design, I was able to explore how water management and open spaces can be utilized to highlight a neighborhood’s unique personality while playing a role in mitigating flood and subsidence related issues.”

The objectives of the LA 7041 Urban Systems studio course are to expose students to urban issues related to the contemporary practice of landscape architecture based on the following: the premise of the city as a system of numerous overlapping and intersecting systems, both natural and human-made; and therefore an effective strategy for dealing with such complex issues is rooted in understanding relevant components of these systems and devising metrics that will inform design initiatives.

“This studio class was a fantastic introduction to urban parks and urban planning,” said Joshua Black, MLA ’19 candidate. “By first researching examples of how other cities and projects have engaged with clients in urban settings, we then were able to experience first hand with greater expertise their operations in several public meetings in New Orleans. In addition, by researching and redesigning several parks in New Orleans, we gained a good understanding of the public park system in the city.”

Students researched public spaces across the city a proposed designs to rejuvenate the areas, keeping in mind issues such as cultural and historical meaning and functions, stormwater management, emphasis on green infrastructures, utility for the public, promoting health and wellness, and expanding public welfare and providing framework for future city growth.

The variety of projects can be seen on the website. The ultimate goal: designing for the future of open spaces.