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Democracy in Retreat? Master Planning in a Warming World

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Tulane River and Coastal Center

Democracy in Retreat? Master Planning in a Warming World

March 29, 2019

Tulane River and Coastal Center 1370 Port of New Orleans Pl., New Orleans, LA 70130

The climate crisis is changing the world. Some people are moving in the face of rising seas and extreme weather, and others are redesigning the places they live. But those making such plans and those most affected by them are not always the same. The challenges posed by climate change thus force architects, planners, engineers, and others charged with imagining the future of their communities to contend with enduring questions of democracy and justice.

This conference foregrounds Louisiana’s experience with these challenges, because on the Gulf Coast, the climate has changed. New designs and infrastructures have reshaped how Louisianans live, just as evacuation, eviction, and emigration in the face of rising seas have redefined where they live. All the while, as the United States confronts climate change it is already riven by stark inequalities. Escaping critical interrogation, technocratic plans promulgated in the name of “resilience” can not only reproduce, but exacerbate existing injustices across the country and beyond its borders. Many policies that promise security for some cause suffering for others. But must there be winners and losers in the pursuit of safety, justice, and democracy?

This event brings together architects, planners, scholars, artists, and others whose work engages with the challenges of planning for climate change. Using Louisiana as the case to “think with,” participants will work comparatively to evaluate the perils and promises of risk and retreat, given the imperatives of justice and democracy.

9:00 — Introduction

ByWater Institute at Tulane University

Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University

9:30 — Defining and Managing Risk

Who, at what, is at risk? How should risk be defined and managed—as a cultural, economic, environmental, aesthetic, and architectural problem?

Craig Colten, Geography & Anthropology, Louisiana State University

Traci Birch, Coastal Sustainability Studio, Louisiana State University

Zachary Lamb, Princeton Mellon Fellow in Urbanism and the Environment

Monique Verdin, Another Gulf is Possible

Respondent: Liz Koslov, Urban Planning, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles

Moderator: Andy Horowitz, Assistant Professor, Department of History, School of Liberal Arts, Tulane University

11:15 — Evacuation, Eviction, Emigration

Who leaves their home—when, why, and how?

Jay Arena, Sociology, CUNY College of Staten Island

Monica Farris, University of New Orleans Center for Hazard Assessment, Response and Technology

Farrah Cambrice, Sociology, Prairie View A&M University

Andreanecia Morris, Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance

Respondent: Zaire Dinzey-Flores, Sociology, Rutgers

Moderator: Fallon Samuels Aidoo, Jean Brainard Boebel Chair in Historic Preservation, Assistant Professor of Planning & Urban Studies, University of New Orleans

2:00 — Greenwashing

How do technocratic claims of sustainability or resilience obscure or reinforce injustice?

Austin Allen, Design Jones LLC

Anthony Fontenot, Architecture, Woodbury School of Architecture

Thom Pepper, Common Ground New Orleans

Denise J. Reed, University of New Orleans

Respondent: Daniel Aldana Cohen, Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

Moderator: Carol McMichael Reese, Director of the City, Culture, and Community Ph.D. Proram; Professor of Architecture, Tulane University

4:00 — Is This Democracy?

What kind of a challenge is climate change?

Charles Allen, National Audobon Society

Cedric Johnson, African American Studies & Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago

Margarita Jover, Architecture, Tulane University

Bryan Parras, Sierra Club

Monxo Lopez, Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies, Hunter College

Moderator: Reinhold Martin, Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, Columbia University

6:00 — Closing Remarks

Organized by:

Fallon Samuels Aidoo, Jean Brainard Boebel Chair in Historic Preservation, Assistant Professor of Planning & Urban Studies, University of New Orleans

Andy Horowitz, Assistant Professor, Department of History, School of Liberal Arts, Tulane University

Carol McMichael Reese, Director of the City, Culture, and Community Ph.D. Program; Professor of Architecture, Tulane University

The Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, Columbia University

Sponsored by:

University of New Orleans: Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology, Department of Planning and Urban Studies

Mary D. Coghill Charter School

Tulane University: School of Architecture, ByWater Institute, New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, Stone Center for Latin American Studies, Mellon Program in Community-Engaged Scholarship

Columbia University: Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture

Of interest might also be a related symposium on Saturday, March 30th at the University of New Orleans titled "Heritage at Risk: Climate Changes to Historic Preservation," which has been organized and sponsored by UNO's Jean Brainard Boebel Endowed Chair in Historic Preservation and produced in conjunction with "Democracy in Retreat?"

School of Architecture