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This study addresses the current efforts taking place to rebuild New Orleans, Louisiana and focuses specifically on the 'Make It Right' (MIR) Foundation's model for rebuilding the Lower Ninth Ward with affordable green housing. The primary research question focused on the motivations, design implications, financial implications, advantages, and challenges found in the 'Make It Right' Foundation's housing and community reconstruction project, with the objective of determining the feasibility of implementing the MIR model in other locations. In order to evaluate the model two visits to the MIR site occurred, interviews with MIR employees and residents of the Lower Ninth Ward were conducted, and a questionnaire was sent to MIR homeowners. They were asked questions focusing on the motivations and attitudes surrounding MIR's presence in the Lower Ninth Ward, the advantages and challenges of rebuilding the area, and the reactions and awareness that resulted in MIR's development of affordable green housing. During site visits and the home tours, the sustainable features were noted, and multiple photographs were taken. After gathering the data from the interviews and site visits, the data was organized into emergent themes. One of the main themes that emerged was a sense of distrust that the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward have towards the government. Interviewees made claims that the government did not keep their promises after Katrina, withheld recovery money from them, and that the government wanted Lower Ninth Ward resident's property. Another occurring theme was that MIR has been a guiding force in green innovations and architecture in the area providing education and knowledge to contractors, which has subsequently lowered the cost of building green. This study allowed the researcher to evaluate the current methods being used in building affordable green homes as well as the opinions regarding MIR's efforts in rebuilding and their presence in the Lower Ninth Ward. This study provides information on the innovations being made to help reduce the cost of building green structures. Further research could be conducted to measure the homes affordability over the long-term. Additionally, a future study could be conducted to evaluate how the homeowners interact with the interior spaces of the MIR homes.
Rebuilding After Hurricane Katrina, Ethical Design, Lower Ninth Ward, Sustainable Design, Green Design, Health Concerns Low-income Housing, Affordable Housing
Date of Defense
March 30, 2010.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Interior Design in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts.
Includes bibliographical references.
Lisa K. Waxman, Professor Directing Thesis; David Butler, Committee Member; Karen Myers, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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