New Orleans Future Ground – Working Vacancy Strategy
The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) was the client for the Future Ground project, which included site conditions assessments, land use and parcel-assembly scenario modeling, and the identification of pilot projects and neighborhoods. Mass Economics, with project team partners, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, also identified new strategic, policy, and programming roles for NORA in the economic development ecosystem in New Orleans.
Working Vacancy – the strategy developed by Mass Economics and partners for the Future Ground project – is a strategy for unlocking the economic value of vacant land and for putting it to work economically, socially, and environmentally. It is a tactical and flexible approach to vacant land usage that addresses aggregated and assembled lots rather than individual lots. Working Vacancy is about economic opportunity, equity, and aligning economic development with land use choices over the short and long terms while building on New Orleans’ distinct social, cultural, and environmental foundations. Through implementation of productive landscapes and jobs-creating land use strategies, Working Vacancy creates a vision for the future of New Orleans that addresses underserved existing populations; initiates retention strategies for energetic young workers who cannot find affordable housing and jobs; invites entirely new populations to reinforce and stabilize neighborhoods, and seeks to alleviate significant shortages in economic opportunity, affordable housing, developable land, and land maintenance resources. Working Vacancy is a strategy for re-making the city’s least productive and empty lots as vibrant, productive, and energetic landscapes for a revitalized New Orleans.