Revitalizing New Orleans’ Bienville Corridor

Prerequisites:GSD 1221 or equivalentThe Bienville Corridor is a part of New Orleans\’ historic Mid-City neighborhood. Located just north of the famed French Quarter (Vieux Carri), this culturally rich neighborhood has played an important role socially and economically throughout the city\’s colorful history.From its inception, the Corridor developed as a mixed neighborhood with blacks, Creoles, working class whites and immigrants residing along the palm-lined Bienville Avenue and the surrounding streets. Over the years as racial segregation became the norm, white residents began to move out, leaving a primarily black community that over time, developed a culture of unique rituals and activities that endure today.The southern edge of the study area is Claiborne Avenue. Prior to the late 1960\’s it was a sprawling green corridor with a median lined with majestic oak trees. Claiborne Avenue served as a center of commerce for several communities and featured a variety of businesses owned by blacks and other ethnic groups. It was also the gathering place for the start of the Zulu Parade, the city\’s largest and oldest black Mardi Gras parade.The picture changed dramatically with the construction of the elevated I-10 Expressway in the 70\’s which initiated a precipitous decline in the quality of life on the Avenue and in the adjacent neighborhoods. Today the Bienville Corridor is an area in transition, and many believe that it is poised to reemerge as one of New Orleans\’ most interesting and dynamic neighborhoods. An assortment of institutions, agencies and community groups concerned about the future direction of the neighborhood has formed the Bienville Corridor Development Initiative to develop an area-wide plan. Their goals include: the stimulation of business and economic development, reducing neighborhood blight, increasing affordable housing opportunities, the development of a coherent open space network, and the mitigation of negative environmental and physical influences, including the I-10.The studio will work directly with the Urban Design Research Center in New Orleans, which is an outgrowth of the Southern University School of Architecture. Among its sponsors are several area universities, including Xavier, Dillard, Loyola, Tulane, and the University of New Orleans, as well as the Urban League of Greater New Orleans and members of the private sector. A great deal of background material has been assembled by the Center and will be made available to the studio.It is anticipated that the work of the studio will provide a framework for future development and stimulate serious discussions with the financial community, political leaders and potential developers. This will be an inter-disciplinary studio, and products will range from broad planning and urban design strategies to specific landscape and architectural proposals.There will be at least one trip to New Orleans that will be partially funded. The studio will be open to planning, urban design, landscape architecture and architecture students.Pedagogic Objecitve: The creative integration of a range of disciplines to address complex problems of city design.