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Thu, Sep 03
Why Doesn’t New Orleans Look More Like Amsterdam?
When Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge flooded southeast Louisiana, living with water was a nightmare for New Orleanians. For the past decade, one architect has dedicated himself to making life with water a dream for the Crescent City—and he’s teamed up with the Dutch to make his vision a reality.
David Waggonner is an urban and environmental architect. Since Hurricane Katrina decimated his city, he’s been focusing on urban stormwater management, mapping out designs for New Orleans that would mimic the way Dutch cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam deal with water. In the Netherlands, people “invite water into the city,” meaning water is visible everywhere. Excess stormwater is stored in canals or green infrastructure like parks, rain gardens or underground cisterns. “In Amsterdam, you don’t want to walk on a dry street, you want to walk on a wet street,” says Waggonner. “In New Orleans, we’ve hidden and squandered the asset.”