After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has had to make uncountable critical decisions to rebuild this city to its former greatness. One issue that has yet to be successfully addressed has been how to repurpose the 35,000-43,000 vacant homes left standing in weak market neighborhoods in the city. The city installed critical rehabilitation programs since Katrina, in attempt to rebuild the neighborhoods that suffered destruction from the storm, many of which contain the blighted properties. Some of these programs include the “Lot Next Door” and ”NORA and LA land trust.” These installments have been successful in restoring strong market neighborhoods and bringing people back into the city. However, the weak market neighborhoods have not taken to this tactic and need a stronger push to become economically beneficial once again. Blight is not a problem unique to New Orleans; many cities across the country have dealt with or are continuing to deal with the effects of blight. Some of the cities analyzed in this policy brief are Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Detroit, Michigan, New York City, New York and Flint, Michigan. In order to restore economic growth, build close-knit community and increase general public health, urban farms must be put in place. Through localization of these farms the economy would be stimulated because the money spent within the community is generated through that same community. Countless jobs would be available as well as a lowered cost of fresh food. In addition, a sense of community would develop amongst the area which would further the efforts to rebuild New Orleans to be even greater than it was before Katrina.
Daija Smith, Lindsey Mixer, Amber Russell and Jean-Michael Martinod
This report was written by undergraduate students at Loyola University New Orleans under the direction of Professor Peter F. Burns