New Orleans, USA: Drawing of Forest Planting, Chair of Being Alive, 2024

Prof. Teresa Galí-Izard | Chair of Being Alive

Garden of the XXI Century in New Orleans, USA

The garden is located in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, a neighbourhood which suffered from extensive damage in 2005 during the city’s most severe weather-related disaster, Hurricane Katrina. The garden is a collection of five interconnected 10mx40m housing lots, which had homes on them prior to the hurricane and have not been redeveloped since. The space has been stewarded and developed by the Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (CSED) since 2015. The site is at one of the lowest elevations in New Orleans, a city that exists between -5 and 2 meters above sea level and is sinking at a rate of up to 500mm / year due to drainage and pumping. The site lies less about 100 meters from the closest levee which protects the city during regular 6-8 meter storm surges. New Orleans is one of the US cities most vulnerable to climate change, experiencing hurricanes of increasing intensity and frequency, interspersed by periodic droughts and extreme heat.

In the garden, we are designing and planting a native forest using the Miyawaki Method, a technique of forest planting where trees at all levels of the forest system are planted quite densely and simultaneously to create a late-succession forest system. This technique was developed by a Japanese botanist, Akira Miyawaki, and has seen success in creating biodiverse micro forests with increased resiliency to disturbance and disasters.