Asakura Robinson worked with HousingNOLA and the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance to move forward several key Implementation steps of the HousingNOLA 10-Year Strategy and implementation Plan. The context for the HousingNOLA effort, and for these projects, is a rapid increase in housing costs in post-Katrina New Orleans that has left many low-income and middle-income residents paying more than they can afford, and often being pushed further from job centers and services in the city and region.
Part 1: Transit-Oriented Development Areas and Regulatory Framework. Our work included a memo documenting opportunity areas for establishing transit-oriented development regulations and design standards along New Orleans’ high-frequency transit corridors. ARC’s team examined existing neighborhood fabric, existing Master Plan and zoning categories, transit frequency and type, and presence of underutilized and vacant properties, among other factors, to show that significant areas near job centers could accommodate additional density without impacting the fabric of New Orleans’ historic neighborhoods. We worked closely with HousingNOLA’s efforts on the Smart Housing Mix policy to demonstrate that revisions to the Master Plan and zoning code to accommodate transit-oriented development could have a significant impact on adding new affordable and market-rate units, as well as reducing the potential for displacement of existing residents due to cost increases.
Part 2: Master Plan Revisions. To actualize the recommendations of ARC’s TOD study, and many additional HousingNOLA recommendations about strategic investment in housing and community development, the ARC team worked to substantially modify and update the New Orleans Master Plan chapter on housing as part of an ongoing Master Plan Amendments process. This work included determining how to best “operationalize” the HousingNOLA neighborhood typology of investment within the City’s official planning documents, by making recommendations about catalytic investment in areas with low market activity; a balanced strategy of development and affordability preservation in transitional markets; and a strong effort to utilize all available resources to preserve and add affordability in strong-market, high-opportunity neighborhoods.