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Case Study: Starting Over in the Lower Ninth Ward
by Rich Binsacca
Ecohome / 11.19.2011

I’m in New Orleans to report on the Make It Right Foundation and its efforts to build sustainable homes in the city’s Lower Ninth Ward, a neighborhood devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The foundation is a non-profit created by film actor and amateur architect Brad Pitt with architect and Cradle to Cradle advocate William McDonough and Graft, a Los Angeles-based multi-disciplinary architectural firm.

My goal is to find out how the design, specifications, and construction practices that enable Make It Right to produce LEED-Platinum new homes and sell them for $150,000 to low-income families might translate to the mainstream of green building, as well as how homeowners are adapting to and optimizing the efficiencies built into their homes. Is Make It Right a real-world application or a promotional aberration?

After only a few hours on the ground, I can report that it is neither. It is, simply stated, a ...more