Process
Written by YeSeul Kim

Week 1-Week 5

This was a research period in which the individual groups investigated general information about their topics and how the data pertained and affected New Orleans. We also gathered input from speakers of different areas of expertise.

Week 5-Week 8

The coordination meetings began and so did the interaction between teams. At this point, many in the class wanted to rebuild much, if not all of New Orleans. This is when the class realized that there was not enough data to support any ideas.

Team 2 presented the “North Shore Plan,” which suggested converting New Orleans into an industrial and tourist city and move residential areas across Lake Pontchartrain. This commuter city idea seemed feasible and exists in other great cities such as New York City. Ultimately, this idea was abandoned due to demographics issues,

Week 9-Week 10

The class decided to look into the “North Shore Plan.” After researching, the only thing the class agreed on was that we disagreed.

Saturday meetings emerged and groups of Terrascope students began researching into other solutions to New Orleans.

Week 11-Week 12

Many of our mentors suggested quantifying our data to use as our support for any solution that we choose. Consequently, the “Algorithm” emerged. The purpose of the survey is to create a mathematical representation of what the entire class views as the most important factors for rebuilding. The ranking of importance of each factor was determined by a survey conducted to the class. By doing it survey-style, the final weighting system was the compilation of the entire class’ opinions on what is important in rebuilding decisions. The index gives scores for each factor to each neighborhood. It gives us a way to compare (for example, % damage to an elevation height in feet) by giving each an index score of 0-10. The derivations of the index number for each factor in rebuilding are given below, and were based on the overall numbers for the area. A 10 in any given category represents the best situation for rebuilding; 0 is the worst. For each neighborhood, the index score received for each category will be multiplied by the weight of that category (percentage in decimal form), and the final score for each neighborhood will be the sum of the weighted scores for each category. Ultimately, this was only used to compare neighborhoods and was never applied in determining the fate of each neighborhood because we realized that the index was very arbitrary.

Week 12-13

An alternative to the “North Shore Plan” was Baton Rouge. The theory was that if we moved the port jobs from New Orleans to the port in Baton Rouge, then the residents would move accordingly. The geographical advantage of moving the New Orleans economy to Baton Rouge is that it evades the immediate threat of subsidence and sea level rise. A lot of this idea has been incorporated in the final solution.

Week 13

One alternative plan was to increase the elevation of New Orleans by covering the area with a thick layer of dirt. However, it was agreed that this plan was not feasible. For one thing, such a strategy would require many buildings to be taken down while a layer of sediment was added, and then rebuilt on top of the sediment. This would greatly increase the cost of rebuilding. Furthermore, due to subsidence and sea level rise, such a plan would only prolong the inevitable.

Another option was to simply not rebuild any of New Orleans. This plan, however, would incur massive costs, both economically and socially. The majority of citizens of New Orleans and, indeed, the rest of the United States, would not support such a plan. New Orleans is simply too important to the economy and culture of the United States, and the sheer volume of residents who would be displaced if such action were taken makes the plan unfeasible.