Monday, July 17, 2006

The New Cottage for an Old City

How do we rebuild a city there there were thousands of blighted homes from before The Flood, and now thousands more additional homes liable to be demolished? How do we provide affordable housing to a city where less than 50% of residents own their home, and 25% of the population lives in poverty?

Like this:

This is a Katrina Cottage, as an alternative to the FEMA trailer designed by cottage designer Marianne Cusato and architect Eric Moser, as the result of a inside and compare that to the inside of a FEMA trailer. Given the choice, which you you select? Don't bother to answer. FEMA has decided for you. They claim the Stafford Act, the legislation authorizing FEMA activities, prevents them from providing permanent housing.

But the story doesn't stop there, as hard as FEMA tires. There is a Katrina Cottage II, designed by town planner Andres Duany and described as "Creole inpisred", which can be built for $70,000 or less and is 770 square feet, or twice the size of the model shown above. It is about the size of a smallish Creole cottage in New Orleans.

I think at this point, most people are anxious to get out of the FEMA punishment box and into a real home. This is the real moment for the Katrina Cottage and its spin-offs. New Orleans is full of homes that looked like this before The Flood, and like this after. The Katrina cottage industry provides one way to rebuild the city.

One modular home builder is clearly moving into the New Orleans market. New Era Homes is putting up what looks like a shotgun cottage on West End Boulevard just at the exit from the Pontchartrain Expressway. Such homes could provide a way to quickly and, from the look of it, appropriately reconstruction much of new Orleans.

Two New Era modular home unites in Lakeview

Much of New Orleans housing stock is (or was) in the shotgun double. They were built to fit the narrow lots of a city constrained by lack of high, dry land. And they were the affordable housing of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

It's time to rediscover our roots, and look to find a house that fits the housing profile of New Orleans, is affordable to average working people, and leverages materials ideally suited to the climate. While there isn't any cypress wood in a Katrina cottage, there is fiber-cement siding and crimped metal roofs that resist damage by hurricanes.

As we look to rebuild the city, a modular, storm resistant home that fits the profile and character of of our neighborhoods, that could in fact be dropped on top of existing piers or easily elevated to three feet, that could put people back into affordable-to-own homes is just the thing we need.

I would much rather have that than a trailer... not that my opinion counts for much because I don't have a trailer (I was a renter B.K. and still am), but it just seems like it would feel so much more like an actual home. It amazes me how inefficient FEMA is and how little they appear to be interested in cost-effective solutions. Interesting to click on the Wiki link and read that some of them have the doors misaligned to deter spirits from passing through! I have been in a couple shotgun apartments like that and wondered if there was a historical reason the doors didn't line up. We probably going to get a shotgun double as a first house next year, fingers crossed.
I love shotguns. Beware the fakey vinyl-sided trailer faux shit. They will destroy the local architecture as soon as possible. I wish I could get something through Operation Comeback. I love the shotgun, the shotgun double, the camelback, the Creole cottage. They define how we live and why we talk to (and pretend not to overhear) our neighbors. Beats the hell out of wide suburban lawns and brick boxes and not knowing your neighbors.
I wish Mississippi would get as much as New Oleans is getting . While New Oleans is sitting on thier butts and not doing anything but waiting for others to do it for them, we are over doing it all on our own. Katrina did not hit New Oleans the leeves broke due to human error . And the Mayor who thinks its because they were black had something do with it, Let me just say That Mayor is just full of it Katrina didnt care if you were black white red or green or rich or poor she did her damage so i am sick of hearing this. Now these cottages are coming yes but where are the ones for Mississippi .
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