The Healthy Block Initiative works with blocks or whole neighborhoods to plan and implement stormwater management projects.
Through our work with the Front Yard Initiative, BASIN, and the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans, we are often approached by groups of neighbors who want to see larger scale impacts on their block. We created the Healthy Block Initiative as a way to better work with our partners and leverage our collective impact. Through this project we provide resources to communities who want to realize goals of resilience and sustainability through stormwater management.
This project is funded with generous support from the Allianz Foundation and the Harrah’s Community grant.
New Orleans claims 1,450 square feet of road surface per person; the highest ratio of pavement per person in the country.
The majority of our transportation infrastructure was built in the 1960’s with population projections of 1 million residents. The city currently has less than 400,00 people. We are taxing ourselves to maintain an over-sized street system.
Reducing the sizes of roadways provides space for municipal water management installations and multi-modal transportation opportunities.
THIS PROGRAM IS PAYING CITY RESIDENTS TO DITCH CONCRETE IN FAVOR OF FLOWERS
Pavement in New Orleans is everywhere, especially in the suburbs. Those areas — some of the lowest-lying in the city — are where water is meant to drain from the higher elevation areas, such as the French Quarter. But the excess of pavement covering such neighborhoods has transformed permeable land into impenetrable surface. As a result, water that should flow to the suburbs at a pace slow enough for the city’s drains and pumps to manage it is moving too quickly. And there’s just too much of it.
But a city-backed initiative is helping city residents manage flooding on their properties. The project, Front Yard Initiative, reimburses homeowners to tear out pavement in their yards and replace it with rain gardens, local plants that can absorb large amounts of water and rain barrels. So far, the Front Yard Initiative has been adopted by 43 homeowners in three New Orleans neighborhoods, and city planners have argued that the project — if adopted by enough people — might help reduce flooding throughout the city.