Having lost over 14,000 occupants to the floods of Katrina, the lower ninth ward is now tasked not only with rebuilding homes, but rebuilding community. Recently the Make It Right campaign gave an incredible panel at this year’s Net Impact Conference that explored their efforts in rebuilding a growing new community starting with those who were hit hardest by the disaster. We were excited to hear that the foundation has finished construction on 6 homes that are set to receive LEED platinum certification, and that the ninth ward is being steadily shaped into an exemplary role model for a sustainable community!

Net Impact, MakeItRight, NOLA, Rebuilding New Orleans, Sustainable Building, Disaster Relief

November’s Net Impact conference brought together over 1,400 MBA students in Philadelphia to focus upon various topics surrounding sustainability. One of our highlights of the conference was a panel entitled: Rebuilding a Green New Orleans: Sustainability in the Lower Ninth Ward. Focusing upon Brad Pitt’s Make It Right campaign to rebuild the lower ninth ward, the panel was moderated by Katherine Grove, a director of Inhabitat favorite William McDonough + Partners, and included panelists Charles Allen (External relations director for the Center of Bioenvironmental Research at Tulane), Tom Darden (Executive Director at Make it Right), and Joseph Williams (Executive Director, New Orleans’ Redevelopment Agency).

With the recent completion of six homes, interest in the Make It Right campaign continues to grow, and the housing application pool is ever enlarging. Darden reports that all homes are undergoing the LEED Certification with the anticipation that each one will receive a LEED Platinum rating. Make it Right is planning to foster community by expanding its available housing types, and they hope to add multi-family dwellings within the next few years.

Hearing Tom Darden’s announcement that the Make It Right Concorida Homes receiving their LEED Platinum certificate, I left with an air of optimism, believing that future business leaders can be a part of the global solution if they can maintain their enthusiasm and set their preoccupations aside. The panel stood as proof positive that the sustainable buildings are just as durable, feasible, and capable of growing community as the conventional buildings they are replacing.

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