New Housing in New Orleans

An ambitious college architectural project has seen undergraduates make a difference in the still-blighted city

Even before Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans, housing in the city was a problem. Tulane University’s School of Architecture, under an umbrella program of the school called Tulane City Center, had been working to help since the summer of 2005, with a design-build studio called URBANbuild. “Thirty-three percent of people in Orleans Parrish were living below the poverty line before Katrina,” says Byron Mouton, codirector of URBANbuild. “Our program was designed with a ‘macro scale,’ which concentrates on research at the regional/city/neighborhood scale, and a design-build ‘micro scale,’ concentrating on research at the neighborhood/dwelling/material scale.” According to Mouton, since the hurricane, these and other outreach programs under Tulane City Center’s auspices have gained strength, as justification of their necessity has been established and funds have become available.

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