Since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, local architect David Waggonner has been working to improve the way his city deals with water. In 2008, he initiated the Dutch Dialogues, a series of workshops that aimed to facilitate conversations about water issues between New Orleans and the Netherlands. His firm Waggonner & Ball also has projects that draw from the Dutch concept of “living with water,” such as Lafitte Greenway, an urban park with widened “bayous” that absorb rainwater during extreme storms.
Overall, Waggonner’s goal is to encourage his city to follow the lead of the Dutch, who use water-control strategies that emulate natural systems rather than relying solely on dikes and barriers. “We in New Orleans have the opportunity to become a more resilient ecological city,” Waggonner says.