New Orleans is partnering with national and local nonprofits on software that can tie together the city’s various efforts to bring its drainage and planning strategies in line with environmental principles and to take into account the effects of climate change, officials said this week.
The partnership among the city, the Trust for Public Land and the Greater New Orleans Foundation is based on similar tools being developed in a dozen other cities that are part of the trust’s Climate-Smart Cities program.
The program seeks to develop a tool that will combine data on on-the-ground conditions with maps and community input to drive decision-making, according to a news release from the city.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration has been pursuing a variety of interconnected proposals to improve the way the city handles environmental challenges by using techniques aimed at mirroring or improving upon natural attributes of the area’s landscape.
The initiatives include the city’s Resiliency Plan, unveiled last year, and a $141 million federal grant the city received for projects to make the Gentilly area better able to withstand natural disasters.
Those projects have largely focused on drainage and stormwater management, with a goal of moving the city away from policies that emphasize dealing with storms by pumping water out of the region and instead focusing on techniques that allow the water to be reabsorbed naturally into the ground.
That philosophy, which underpins the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, is aimed at stemming the subsidence caused by excessive pumping out of water.
The Trust for Public Land’s latest project seeks to build on those efforts and to aid in the development of other initiatives, such as the use of parkland as a way of cooling areas of the city.
“New Orleans’ commitment to green infrastructure is crucial to fulfilling the promise of this generation: a resilient and livable New Orleans for years to come,” said Sarah Olivier, the Trust for Public Land’s New Orleans program director. “Green infrastructure can have many benefits, from improving water management to growing local economies, connecting communities and protecting the city’s most important natural places.”
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