Just before the devastation created by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Tulane University’s School of Architecture founded URBANbuild, a design-build program that combines academic and technical knowledge, offering students firsthand experience in building energy-efficient homes. After Katrina, the program was in a unique place to work with the surrounding community to deal with the consequences of the storm.
“‘We had an opportunity and a responsibility to help the communities in a much greater way,’ Byron Mouton, director of URBANbuild, says. “Helping people who decided to return to understand that they had access to greater options. Since its inception, the program has spearheaded the design and execution of 10 projects, including affordable housing in underserved areas and even a pop-up community market—all have had a small-scale but deeply-felt impact on the urban fabric of New Orleans.”
Ten years after Katrina, Tulane continues to work with the community. Looking at how the natural disaster can shape the way designers deal with catastrophic hardships, the community outreach arm of the School of Architecture (Tulane City Center) has provided space for lectures, workshops, and fellowship opportunities, and has become a go-to resource for academics as well as the surrounding community.
Read more about Tulane City Center’s ongoing work with the community here.