Extractable Units of Bywater

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William Cronon argues that incoming settlers to the New England landscape could only define their findings in terms of their marketable value rather than their collective value as a system of growth. The danger of extracting profitable elements from an existing ecosystem is that it not only detracts from the overall richness of the place, but hinders any potential for future growth. The Bywater neighborhood in New Orleans is an ecosystem facing this same calculated extraction of its profitable parts: it lays on a natural levee; its located on the Mississippi River; it is in close proximity to downtown; there is cheap property due to the devastation of Katrina. Developers moving into the area buy out parts of the land based off these marketable values without understanding the complexity of the urban fabric. The Bywater neighborhood has a rich history of development from plantation lands to industrial barges to its current identity as an art and residential district. This thesis will seek to develop a rich and equitable infrastructure for the cultivation of both old and new cultural communities while still allowing space for growth in a place that has been historically defined and divided by its profitable parts.

Bywater, Louisiana, Urban planning, Extractable units