The post-disaster shrinking city : vacant land types, patterns, and strategies in post-Katrina New Orleans
Author(s)McHugh, Colleen M. (Colleen Margaret)
Vacant land types, patterns, and strategies in post-Katrina New Orleans
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Anne Whiston Spirn.
MetadataShow full item record
There were approximately 17,000 vacant lots in New Orleans in 2012, amounting to over 11 percent of total parcels in the city. Many of these lots have become vacant since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, but many were already empty. The population in parts of the older core of the city significantly declined from World War II until 2000. The migration of people into the recently drained low-lying subdivisions both within and outside of the city limits led to disinvestment and high vacancy rates in central neighborhoods of the city. This thesis seeks to define the current physical landscape of vacancy in New Orleans, within the context of these two historic narratives, Katrina and suburbanization before the storm, in order to appropriately target policy strategies for the reuse of vacant lots. This thesis uses images collected by the author of vacant lots throughout the city to define spatial types and conditions common to vacant land in New Orleans. A rigorous, data-driven mapping exercise explores patterns of vacancy in relation to physical and socioeconomic measures. This analysis supports the definition of three neighborhood types in which vacant land should be treated differently. These three types are based on pre-Katrina vacancy and post-Katrina flood depths, and consist of: 1) areas with significant pre-Katrina vacant land and little flooding, 2) areas with little pre-Katrina vacant land and high flood levels, and 3) areas with both significant pre-Katrina vacant land and high flood levels. The findings of this research indicate the need to revisit the physical footprint of New Orleans, with an emphasis on how the city should target its limited resources in the future to maximize both social justice and environmental justice imperatives, as well as mitigate the negative impacts of future disasters.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2013.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. -187).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.