There is no city better positioned than New Orleans to pursue the endeavor of how to deal with the interim state of vacant urban land. Our successes here in New Orleans can inform shrinking cities and banks across the nation who, like us are facing astronomical costs associated with maintaining lawns on vacant and foreclosed properties. NORA is responsible for mowing and monitoring thousands of vacant lots and anticipates spending millions of dollars, based on the current maintenance regime that calls for mowing lots twice a month. We believe this holding pattern for vacant land is not a sustainable solution and hope to collaborate with NORA to ensure we remain at the forefront of innovation.
In this spirit, we are happy to present “The Chicory Mix Project” proposal to establish a two year demonstration project seeking alternative low-maintenance plantings for vacant lots. Research on these plant communities is already being pioneered in the US by the renowned horticulturist, Dr. Peter Del Tredici, Senior Research Scientist of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, lecturer at the GSD, and author of “Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast” The other major component of the project involves educating the public about the benefit of these plants. That’s why we would like to focus on the use of Chicory, a purple flowering plant added New Orleans’ coffee to make it so unique.