Date of Award
College of Urban and Public Affairs
Brooks, Jane; Whelan, Robert
While Jane Jacobs' frontal assault on "modern planning" is now over forty years old, communities around the United States are still struggling to deal with the legacy of modernist interventions that dramatically altered the historic urban form and culture of their downtowns. In the worst cases, whole zones were transformed into nearly unusable space. Reintegrating these lost spaces into the urban fabric is one of the most significant challenges of urban planners and designers today. Despite the ubiquity of lost spaces in American cities, comparatively little research has been done on the specific historic urban forms that were altered. This dissertation seeks to explore the processes of landscape change through a case study of Louis Armstrong's downtown neighborhood in New Orleans. It employs an urban morphological framework to uncover the specific landscape changes that occurred in the neighborhood over time. This micro-level view is broadened through an examination of the political economic forces that helped to transform the once vibrant neighborhood into the lost space of today. This study concludes that while it is tempting to identify the twentieth century modern interventions as the cause of lost space in New Orleans, such a reading unnecessarily isolates the modern development era from the historical continuum of land use that helped define the city. When the scope of inquiry into the causes of lost space is widened to include the historic formation of landscape remnants, long-standing patterns of lost space development begin to appear that stretch back to the founding of the city. Modern development, seen in this light, exacerbated existing negative landscape features more than created them.
Fields, Willard, "Urban Landscape Change in New Orleans, LA: The Case of the Lost Neighborhood of Louis Armstrong" (2005). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 151.