Sustainable Design and the Recovery of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina

It passes without any notice with perfection as it is perfectly functional and its form flows seamlessly into the surrounding environment. As an example, a comfortable chair passes without any notice as it is comfortable and well-matched with the human form. Again a good designed kitchen device, even a can opener, passes without any notice perfectly owing to the easiness and smoothness of its functions. Furthermore design is closely tied to the surrounding world. It is a product of wider technological progress and persistent artistic influences. Fifty years ago issues regarding environmental problems mostly went off without any notice. However, during the last thirty years as environmental issues have become of increasing importance and awareness has grown of packaging waste, climate change and other issues design issues have expanded to include environmental issues as well. More recently, importance on environmental issues has been replaced by the importance on sustainability. The following conversation will focus on the interrelationship between sustainability and design. Initially, the term sustainability will be looked at and checked. After that the particular issue of sustainability and design will be studied. The proposal will consider the concept of sustainable design as it has been applied to the reconstruction of the city of New Orleans, Louisiana since it was struck by Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2005). Particularly, problems with the actual sustainability of present ‘sustainable’ approaches to reconstruction will be focused. This proposal will actually argue that most of the ‘sustainable’ proposals for rebuilding New Orleans are not sustainable as they do not consider the main socio-cultural aspects of sustainable design. After that one simple proposal for reconstruction that is actually sustainable economically, environmentally and socio-culturally will be presented. The last section of the proposal will then consider how the specific proposal for sustainable reconstruction in New Orleans can be applied in a greater framework in other parts of the globe (mostly in the UK). Chapter 2. Principles of Sustainable Design Sustainability The historical discussion of the issue of sustainable design will start with the history (etymology) of the word sustain which is the root of the term sustainability. Following the Online Etymological Dictionary the root of sustain comes from late 13 century, from Old French sustenir hold up, endure, from Latin sustinere hold up, support, endure, from sub up from below + tenere to hold. (Sustain (2010) Online Etymology Dictionary [online].) Following this definition, sustainable design is a design that can be supported or held up by the economy, the environment and society. In the background of design, sustainable designs are those designs that can be backed by the environment. Sustainable designs are designs that do not erode the resources of the environment, but rather can be supported by them. A definition of sustainability has existed since at least 1987 when the Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future (commonly known as the Brundtland Report) was published. The World Commissio