Finalist Teams Announced for the Van Alen Institute & NORA Future Ground Competition

Van Alen Institute in partnership with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) today announced the selection of three multidisciplinary teams as finalists for Future Ground, a competition that is bringing together leading experts in design, policy, and community development from around the country with local stakeholders to tackle the challenges of reusing vacant land in New Orleans.

Each team will now receive a $15,000 stipend to develop innovative, flexible strategies for reusing vacant land today and over the next 50 years. In spring 2015, the teams will share their proposals to transform vacant land citywide into safe, beautiful spaces for recreation and habitat, flood mitigation, economic development, and many other amenities for individuals and neighborhoods. NORA plans to begin implementation of the best ideas immediately following the conclusion of the competition.

The teams include architects, landscape architects, urban planners, engineers, lawyers, brownfield experts, and community development and finance specialists from New Orleans and six other cities in the U.S. and Canada. A jury of national leaders in design and policy selected the teams from a pool of more than 180 individuals from 17 countries around the world who responded to an open Request for Qualifications.

The three Future Ground finalists are:

  • Team LEX, led by Kristi Cheramie of Ohio State University with Jacob Boswell, Mattijs van Maasakkers, and Jennie Miller. Team LEX has proposed The New Orleans Land Exchange (NOLEX), a projective framework designed to move vacant parcels from tax delinquency to productive lands in order to protect public health and safety.
  • Team PaD, led by James Dart of the New Orleans-based design firm DARCH with Deborah Gans, LoriAnn Girvan, and Marc Norman. Team PaD will explore policy as a design tool, considering alternative property, development, legal and fiscal structures to reconsider the city’s established design policies in the context of its collective post-Katrina capital of ideas.
  • Team Stoss, led by Chris Reed, Scott Bishop, and Amy Whitesides of the Boston-based design firm STOSS Landscape Urbanism with Ann Yoachim, Byron Stigge, Jonathan Tate, Kate Kennen, Liz Ogbu, Jill Desimini, Teresa Lynch, and Michael Brady. Team Stoss will focus on developing strategies for New Orleans that build on local energies; that leverage the ecological, infrastructural, and civic values of landscape; and that catalyze new social, cultural, environmental, and economic dynamics throughout the city.