The media-savvy, 56-year-old Duany, who long ago gathered accolades and a measure of scorn after his design of the quaint Florida town Seaside, is tackling myriad planning questions in Gentilly. He is presiding over hearings, including one Thursday night, and work by dozens of volunteer architects and planners from around the country -- adherents of a New Urbanist movement that favors traditional city patterns friendly to pedestrians.
Duany wasn't asked by the LRA or Mayor Ray Nagin's recovery commission to lavish advice on Gentilly, still largely devoid of population. But he and a bevy of associates were pleased to be invited in by the Gentilly Civic Improvement Association, a key player in a grass-roots New Orleans planning movement.
Finally, local residents are taking the tiger by the tail in revitalizing the neighborhoods.
So what are Duany's goals?
- "Try to salvage the dysfunctional and abandoned St. Bernard HUD housing project and, failing that, demolish and redesign it so that it works for people."
- "Study the master plans for the universities of UNO, Dillard, Southern, improve them, and embed them into a functioning urban fabric." His references are to the University of New Orleans, Dillard University and Southern University at New Orleans.
- "Consider the redesign of the existing, damaged, suburban houses which are in the majority in Gentilly in order to move them successfully toward a more urban condition."
As soon as the results are posted on the internet I'll provide a link.