UNOP French Quarter
The Unified New Orleans Plan, also known as UNOP, was the City of New Orleans’ comprehensive post-Katrina planning effort, featuring the work of eleven local and national planning teams working on the city-wide, district and neighborhood level. DPZ participated as neighborhood planners in Districts 1 and 6, working in the French Quarter, the Old Commerce District and Gentilly. The team’s plan addressed the Districts’ immediate infrastructural and planning needs after the storm, offered rebuilding strategies for both individual homeowners and the neighborhoods at large and addressed longstanding fundamental planning challenges for the area.
As neighborhood planners for District 6, DPZ first returned to Gentilly, where the team had held a first-of-its-kind post-Katrina planning charrette six months prior. Endeavoring to produce a full roster of small-scale, implementation-oriented rebuilding strategies, the team generated specific codes and regulating plans for each neighborhood within the District. In addition, the team developed plans for several catalytic projects intended to revitalize the region as a whole, including a Town Center on the site of a ruined strip mall. Proposed rebuilding mechanisms, including a Neighborhood Planning Center and a Community Development Corporation, also offered specific methods to expedite the reconstruction process and improve communications between homeowners, developers and local institutions.
Planning work for District 1 took on a different focus, as the French Quarter and Old Commerce District did not experience the same level of direct physical damage as Gentilly and other parts of New Orleans. Nevertheless, the neighborhoods remained crucial to the City-wide post-Katrina strategy, as the recovery of the region as a whole is inextricably linked to the resurgence of its urban core. Working on district-wide codes, as well as designs for specific sites, including Rampart Street and the French Quarter waterfront, the team aimed to provide mechanisms which would encourage balanced, mixed-use development that would ultimately enable the District to properly serve as the City’s economic engine and employment center.