Tag Archives: New Orleans

The Corps gets public input for MRGO ecosystem plan

Last week, on November 3 and November 6, the Army Corps of Engineers held two meetings around New Orleans to solicit public input on a plan aimed at restoring and maintaining the areas affected by the now de-authorized Mississippi River Gulf Coast Outlet (MRGO).  The Corps invited public input on two major issues:

1. What are the most important issues, resources, benefits, and impacts that should be considered?

2. Are there any other restoration features or modifications to the restoration features identified that should be considered?

The real question is whether the Corps was really seeking input for the plan, or whether they were conducting the sessions as a mere formality?  Indeed, the public notice released by the Corps states that the public meeting is required for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

While most agree that Katrina turned MRGO into a hurricane highway that contributed to the city’s flooding, closing the channel outright seems like an extreme step, particularly in light of the fact that other measures, like flood gates and wetland restoration, could be designed and built to protect urban areas from flooding while still providing the shipping industry with a short route to the gulf.  I guess it becomes a question of resources…how much would it all cost and do the benefits outweigh the expenses?

The Green Corridor Plan seems to be a politically impossible, yet logical solution to the MRGO problem, the State’s energy concerns, and economic development in the New Orleans region.

From Greencorridor.org:

The “Green Corridor Solution” is not just a plan, but a system. A system designed to solve most of the major problems facing Louisiana today – Permanent Wetlands Funding, Green Energy, Hurricane Protection, Economic Development, Habitat Restoration and National Political Acceptance to create a stable future for Louisiana and its citizens.

The system is designed to utilize all of Louisiana’s assets to bring together one plan of action, create 150,000 permanent jobs and start an era of economic expansion that will be unequaled in the modern world.

If any of the following are important to you, then Green Corridor can use your support.

  • Permanent wetlands restoration & funding
  • True protection for the city of New Orleans
  • Fuel adjustment charge “off” your utility bill
  • Reduce need for fossil fuels & lower our carbon footprint
  • 150,000 permanent new jobs
  • Beaches in Louisiana
  • New Orleans the Queen of the South, again!

Can the massive GreenCorridor plan gain enough traction to overcome the critics?

Click here for the master plan.

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Filed under environment, Louisiana, New Orleans, Politics

New Orleans attempts crowd-influenced Zoning ordinance

On September 27, 2008, New Orleans residents were invited to participate in a yearlong process of creating a 20-year master plan for development. The master plan will create a citywide framework to guide decision-makers in promoting economic development, better housing, improved infrastructure, environmental quality and other goals while preserving the city’s architectural and cultural legacies.
The forum’s theme is “Creating a Vision for New Orleans’ Future Together.”  The yearlong forum seeks to engage residents such that the new ordinance reflects the values, aspirations, and priorities of the whole community.  A website has launched with information and to keep residents up to date on the progress.  Citizens can also participate through resident surveys, public meetings, community groups, and work groups.

While its great that the city is attempting to increase input from its residents, my guess is that this will still be a primarily top-down approach to overhauling the zoning. The City Planning Commission has hired Goody Clancy, a Boston planning and architectural firm, to lead the effort to create the master plan and will be paid at least $2 million for the job.

While tools like Policypitch.com use the internet to make crowd-sourcing public policy more effective, it begs the question: can a city zoning ordinance truly be developed by the crowds?  Don’t we need to use professional urban planners and lawyers to draft the plan?  So, while this is a good step in the right direction, is society at a stage yet where public policy can be developed by its individual residents?  Any ideas?

More info about the master plan at: www.nolamasterplans.org

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Filed under crowdsourcing, New Orleans, Politics, transparency, Uncategorized

504ward.com: successful community crowdsourcing for local change (Part II)

The initial meeting took place in November 2007.  About 25 New Orleans residents showed up, brainstormed, met in focus groups, and exchanged ideas.   Many community meetings followed.  In February 2007, the group wrote an RFP for the website design and branding of the campaign.  The Ideavillage team selected four companies to present.  In March, a collaborative team of about 30 community residents, mainly young people, watched the presentations, and voted on a theme and a company.  The Netcom Group and the 504ward.com campaign won the day. From that point, Ideavillage took the ball and rolled with it.  Jessica White was hired to coordinate the launch.  Hundreds of behind the scenes meetings took place.

And finally, last night, in true New Orleans style, some 504 New Orleanians attended the historic launch of 504ward at Tipitinas.  The final product is 504ward.com, a collaborative initiative designed to retain the influx of young movers and shakers who are arriving by the hundreds in New Orleans.  The initiative has 4 major components: 504connect, a connection program to help our young talent develop cross-generational roots and relationships to better navigate the New Orleans Networks; 504explore, our very own insider’s guide to the cultural escapes and social happenings on tap in New Orleans; Talent Profiles, featuring one young cultural rock star each week in CityBusiness (be sure to check out this week’s cover story!); and the $100,000 business competition for entrepreneurs with ideas to retain New Orleans’ young talent.  An effective and efficient job board for young people is also being developed for 504ward by NOLA YURP.

The 504ward story is a successful example of crowdsourcing for local policy change.  The community identified a problem, leaders stepped up, citizens joined in the collaborative process and followed through, and most importantly, the professional services and resources were donated (office space, wed development, legal, marketing, website optimization, PR, advertising, etc.) to make it happen.

See the competition video:

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Filed under crowdsourcing, New Orleans, Social Innovation

PolicyPitch.com featured on the NOLA 100 List by Alldaybuffet!

(originally posted August 25, 2008)

The guys at Alldaybuffet released their long awaited NOLA 100 List today – and we made the cut in the Social Innovation category! ADB’s Mike Karnjanaprakorn describes the list:

“The New Orleans 100” is a worldwide initiative that will highlight and encourage discussion among millions about 100 of the most innovative and world-changing ideas to take root in the city since Katrina.

After hearing so many of the positive changes and innovative projects post-Katrina, we’ve decided enough is enough. It’s time to put an end to the negative press in mainstream media. We know that the levees broke. We know that our city is dysfunctional. We know that. But do you know about Prospect.1? Or about the influx of young professionals into New Orleans? The world needs to know about the NEW New Orleans. And to quote Brad Pitt, “If you’re going to rebuild something, why not rebuild it right?” Amen brother.

Click here for the full list.

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Filed under news, press, Social Innovation