- Location Plaquemines, Lafourche, Terrebonne, St. John, Jefferson, & St. Tammany Parishes
- Client The State of Louisiana, Office of Community Development – Disaster Recovery Unit
- Project Team:
LA SAFE: Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments
LA SAFE (Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments) is a planning process that combines the expertise of Louisiana’s best design & planning firms with local knowledge and experience of thousands of residents across the coast. Together, we are forming a plan composed of programs, policies, and projects that will make coastal communities resilient in the face of catastrophic land loss and increasing flood risk.
Louisiana’s Office of Community Development (OCD) was awarded $40M through the National Disaster Resiliency Competition to implement this planning process. Combined with additional support from Foundation for Louisiana, their partner organization on this project, OCD and FFL have built out a team that draws on the expertise and skills from over 18 firms and NGOs. Using CPRA’s future projections and Coastal Master Plan proposed impacts as a starting point, we are building the third leg of resilience: community adaptation & transformation.
Many coastal communities are already moving northward, creating myriad challenges for those left behind, and posing development challenges for the northern communities experiencing rapid expansion. Before we put pencils to paper, our first job is to understand what our differing and diverse coastal communities value, what must be protected, how they would like to adapt to the facing challenges ahead.
That’s where Concordia comes in. We are honored to be leading the Engagement strategy and content on the project. We are working with the entire team to align community messaging, engagement, graphic content, and how community input can best serve the plan development process on an unprecedented scale. Across 6 parishes, over 1000 residents have participated so far during the first two rounds of community meetings. The first round of meetings included one meeting in each parish, and the second round included 21 smaller scale meetings, including 2 in Vietnamese and 1 in Cambodian. After a total of 5 rounds of meetings, the team and the community will have co-designed a plan for each parish that will guide the next 50 years of coastal adaptation, to compliment and inform the Coastal Master Plan. The team and community will identify pilot projects in each Parish to implement with the project funds.
The LA SAFE project is the first of its kind in the nation to address coastal adaptation. What happens here in Louisiana over the course of 2017, if successful, may provide coastal communities around the country and the world with a precedent for planning with communities for rising seas and increasing risk, acknowledging that those risks ripple through the cultural fabric, transforming the economic, demographic, and social landscape, in addition to the environment.
Video recap showing what work was done from meeting 1 to meeting 2. Note: all maps were created by Waggonner and Ball based on CPRA data for the 2017 Coastal Master Plan and demographic data from The Data Center and the Census.