Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: 1/4 of New Orleans housing to be demolished

  1. #1

    1/4 of New Orleans housing to be demolished

    So it looks like East New Orleans will end up looking like a mini-Houston, on stilts...

    New York Times: Thousands of Demolitions Near, New Orleans Braces for New Pain



    Devra Goldstein, a New Orleans building inspector, looked over a home Wednesday. About 30,000 inspections had been done by midweek.


    City officials say that even when neighborhoods like the Ninth Ward are rebuilt, they will look very different, particularly given the staggering cost of trying to return them to something resembling their earlier state.

    "People are going to be upside down when they look at the cost of rebuilding," said Greg Meffert, chief information officer for the City of New Orleans and a top aide to Mayor C. Ray Nagin.

    But preservationists say that money must be found to rebuild some of the most historic residential structures and that the demolition process must proceed cautiously.

    "When you have a city that has suffered an incredible disaster, you can't overlook any economic resource, and the historic buildings are an economic resource," said Patricia Gay, executive director of the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, the leading local preservation group. "This type of thing is the flesh and blood of the city."
    As much as I'd like to believe that Katrina is an opportunity for a reborn, sustainable, socially integrated New Orleans, I fear that the chances of an affordable 1900-era shotgun house building industry shooting up overnight are slim to nill. My guess is this: the well-off 10% of homeowners can afford to save their houses, and the rest trade in their rotting, waterlogged home for a vinyl-sided tract house on stilts. Like the crap they put up in shore towns since the 70s. Am I just being pessimistic, or do people really see money falling out of the sky to build anything but the lowest common denomenator of status quo sprawl-on-smaller-lots?

    Federal flood insurance guidelines will also require that thousands of damaged homes in floodplains be elevated by a foot or more, a fearsomely expensive proposition for which there is limited federal assistance. If the city allows those homes to be rebuilt without being elevated, it could be cut off from the National Flood Insurance Program.

    Finally, with homeowners all over the city desperately scrambling for contractors, the price of renovations has quadrupled to nearly $120 a square foot. On top of an existing mortgage, the economics of reconstruction quickly become prohibitive, even for yellow-tagged houses.

    "New construction is a lot cheaper than renovation," said Jay Williams, a local insurance agent.
    $120 a square foot? Anybody in the renovation business thinking of relocating?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2005
    Location
    BC
    Posts
    1,584
    ""When you have a city that has suffered an incredible disaster, you can't overlook any economic resource, and the historic buildings are an economic resource," said Patricia Gay, executive director of the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, the leading local preservation group. "This type of thing is the flesh and blood of the city.""

    OK, fine - but calling repairs renovations is a bit misleading. It's a far cry from converting the old wood fireplace to natural gas, or putting in a new kitchen. Lots of these homes have had the anchor bolts to their foundations broken and are off their foundations and the entire frame has warped, and so on. Nearly impossible to fix.

    Simply put, the houses are gone.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Mouseton, Calisota
    Posts
    50
    I do hope that they go through the doomed houses and salvage whatever they can - like maybe the porch brackets that are so distinctive to New Oreans housing.

    I wonder why new shotgun houses can't be built - they don't seem like they would be that expensive. As far as i can tell, the most expensive exterior features are the tall windows, doors, and the porch brackets. Other than that, they look like simple boxes topped with hipped roofs.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Heaven or Las Vegas
    Posts
    916
    I saw many shotguns that looked small enough to fit on a standard mobile or pre-fab home trailer. That is what FEMA should be buying for the emergency housing. It would create the economies of scale for pre-fab builders to convert to a dwelling type that is more historically correct and done with the right materials. Even the wider shotguns could be done pre-fab, in sections. Moldings and brackets aren't all that costly. These aren't Victorian mansions we're talking about. Many of the old homes were built on raised pier foundations. If the new homes are a little higher, the difference will not be all that striking. But vinyl-sided crap up on 10' pilings...ugh! That would be awful. The relationship to the street would be drastically altered, the traditional front-porch socializing would be a lot harder to maintain. Yet another casuality of the hurricane would be chalked up.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  5. #5

    Registered
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    3
    Rather than rebuilding homes on tall pilings or stilts, why not build homes that would float during future flooding? That isn't very expensive. Two story homes built at ground level with 4' high ferro-cement (4" thick?) concrete foundation walls that are water proof and are poured as part of their 4" thick concrete slabs will float. There are such homes at Waldo Point in Saucilito, CA. (I designed one of them: 20' wide x 36' long and two stories high). Those homes/houseboats can literally sit on the soft mud at low tide and move upwards as much as 12 feet during high tides as I recall. Just the utilities need to have flexible connections, and of course there needs to be suitable moorings. Thus, these New Orlean replacement houses could be designed as house boats, but still look like conventional homes of whatever style. They'd be even more practical if some of the upper floor(s) is built in factories and assembled on the 'hull' on the site. Flooding would still be a nuisance, but wouldn't result in the structural damage we see now. Of course, homeowners would need not to unbalance them too much by overloading the port or starboard rooms with too many books and heavy appliances!
    Last edited by DELF; 24 Oct 2005 at 9:23 PM.

  6. #6
    Zoning Lord Richmond Jake's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Jukin' City
    Posts
    16,768
    Quote Originally posted by DELF
    Rather than rebuilding homes on tall pilings or stilts, why not build homes that would float during future flooding? That isn't very expensive. Two story homes built at ground level with 4' high ferro-cement (4" thick?) concrete foundation walls that are water proof and are poured as part of their 4" thick concrete slabs will float. There are plenty of such homes at Waldo Point in Saucilito, CA. ....
    I don't think that would work--most of the time NO is not underwater. (BTW, it's spelled "Sausalito.")

  7. #7

    Registered
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    3
    You're partially right; my spelling was wrong; I hope that doesn't lessen my credibility though about a house being able to float with a carefully engineered 'hull' instead of typical concrete foundation walls and slab. So what if New Orleans is typically dry? Why wouldn't it "work?"

  8. #8
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Heaven or Las Vegas
    Posts
    916
    most of the time NO is not underwater.
    Yeah, as long as the pumps are working! If they returned large areas of the city to the wetlands they once were, they could use some floating houses. I think I'd like to live in one actaully. But I tend to have odd taste in housing.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Hey from New Orleans
    Introduce Yourself
    Replies: 7
    Last post: 10 Jul 2012, 10:02 AM
  2. Replies: 7
    Last post: 16 Jul 2005, 10:52 AM
  3. new orleans
    Cities and Places
    Replies: 22
    Last post: 12 Jul 2004, 12:25 PM
  4. Guess the City 156: Demolished
    Cities and Places
    Replies: 4
    Last post: 27 Mar 2004, 2:27 PM
  5. Hello from New Orleans
    Introduce Yourself
    Replies: 31
    Last post: 26 Mar 2004, 3:09 PM