On the horizon
Climate change and sea level rise are making it more dangerous to live in coastal towns and cities. Communities in these areas must learn how to become more disaster resilient and adaptive by creating more connected and educated populations. In places devastated by natural disasters, the most vulnerable populations are the ones who are left behind. Climate refuges will become more and more common as people are forced to move from the places they call home due to inhabitable conditions. It would be beneficial for these populations to move before a large scale disaster forces them to leave. As the Louisiana coast subsides and is flooded by rising sea levels, the area is becoming more vulnerable to intense floods and storms. While there is a levee surrounding the New Orleans metropolitan area, the communities outside of the levee's protection are exposed to the elements. In these neighborhoods, the frequent damage by storms and rising flood insurance rates are making it too expensive to stay. St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes are the areas that will lose the most land and where the land is vital to the local and national economy. An environmentally and contextually sensitive infrastructure will initiate the relocation of these populations, allowing them to remain in their communities while preserving their lifestyle and quality of life. To combat the dispersion of a strong community, I propose a system that allows the communities outside the levee walls to form new town centers within the flood protection. Specifically in St. Bernard Parish, a central hub would be built on the edge of the levee protection to attract people to move to a safer area. The town center is near the most southeastern part if the levee along Louisiana 46. The center will provide support for the intended increase in population as the area fills in with relocating residents. The center will increase the disaster resilience by providing spaces that can educate the public about climate change, facilitating movement to outside the levee with a boat and automobile transit hub, provide economic support through agriculture and fishing, and help the elderly population stay connected with their community. With the creation of this new town center, the residents that are threatened with sea level rise and flooding will be able to remain connected to their land, their communities, and their livelihoods while reducing their risk.