New Orleans’ Resilience Strategy Recognized By American Planning Association

NEW ORLEANS — Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that the City of New Orleans’s resilience strategy, Resilient New Orleans, has been awarded the 2016 National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice by the American Planning Association (APA). Released in August 2015, Resilient New Orleans is the City’s planning strategy to make New Orleans more resilient, sustainable and prepared to meet challenges and adapt to change. Resilient New Orleans was developed with process guidance from 100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC).

         "The development of our city’s first resilience strategy is a transformative milestone,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “In New Orleans, we have been experiencing the effects of climate change and sea level rise for many years, and this work makes it possible for those threats to become opportunities. I am delighted that we have been recognized by APA and hopeful that other cities across the nation will make similar commitments toward resilience planning.”

         The APA selects a tool, project or program exhibiting state-of-the-art planning methods and practices that help create communities of lasting value to receive the Best Practice award recipient yearly. Recipients of the award demonstrate results and the importance of innovative planning in building and strengthening communities.

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         “Since Hurricane Katrina, the City of New Orleans has been a pioneer in the practice of urban resilience, building a strong and visionary coalition not only to reduce threats from natural disasters, but also the chronic stresses that weakened it in earlier decades,” said 100 Resilient Cities Vice President for Relationships Bryna Lipper. “In 2013 when the Rockefeller Foundation and 100 Resilient Cities were deciding which cities we should select first, New Orleans was an obvious choice for our partnership. They not only developed an extraordinary plan for their city, but our collaboration generated a model that is already being replicated by other cities and organizations around the world. This award validates that the strategy and processes are truly best practices, making it more likely that they will be emulated. We are incredibly proud to have worked with Mayor Landrieu, Jeff Hebert, and the rest of the dedicated resilience champions of New Orleans.”

         Having faced a variety of challenges and disasters in recent years—including multiple hurricanes, the BP oil spill and shifting geographic terrain, along with the struggles of chronic income inequality and financial recession—New Orleans created a comprehensive plan that focused instead on resilience, not rebuilding.

         “We are very proud of the positive changes we are already making as a result of Resilient New Orleans and grateful that our city is being recognized for this innovative approach to planning,” said Jeffrey Hebert, who was appointed as the first Chief Resilience Officer of New Orleans in 2014. “Through a focus on interconnectedness and implementation, we are building a stronger, more equitable, and dynamic New Orleans for the citizens of both today and the future.”

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         The overarching visions of Resilient New Orleans are to embrace the city’s changing environment, connect to opportunity to create a more equitable city and transform city systems to become a more dynamic and prepared city. Many of the 41 specific actions detailed in the strategy are already underway, including advancing coastal protection and restoration, investing in comprehensive and innovative urban water management, expanding access to safe and affordable housing, and redesigning transit systems to connect people.

         Resilient New Orleans was developed with process guidance from 100 Resilient Cities. Over 350 local, national and international stakeholders, and involved representatives from all neighborhoods and communities—including historically underserved populations – provided their input to help the City’s strategy planners better understand what the public felt the City was doing well and what it needed to improve.

         100 Resilient Cities is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.

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