Friday, October 16 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
The People as Genius Loci : Counter-Gentrification tactics after the storm FILLING

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The People as Genius Loci : Counter-Gentrification tactics after the storm

September 2015 marks the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of New Orleans most traumatic experiences in recent history. It was traumatic not only due to the epic failure of the city’s infrastructure but also of the city’s and the nation’s inability to address race and culture. This is a city that was in physical and cultural crisis prior to Katrina and continues to be to this day. This paper is a narrative, a personal account, of my experience as an African-American designer and scholar who at once sought to assist in the further recovery of New Orleans but also be immersed in the historic mythologized African-American culture and the greatly maligned (in media) contemporary African-American culture; finding they are two parts of one continuum and “ain’t nothing really changed” over these many years. The recovery from Hurricane Katrina has made apparent the consistent dislocation between the agendas of large governmental and private developer’s ideas of what to do within predominantly African-American areas and what the citizens of these communities want and need. I will discuss a series of small grassroots projects (two in which I was directly involved) as examples of successful community organization lead initiatives that act as counterpoint and possible balance to “top down” initiatives. The two projects are: “All Souls Episcopal Church” and The Guardians’ Institute: Donald Harrison Museum. They are spatial narratives of resilience, cultural continuity and most importantly organic responses to the trauma of spatial dislocation and the process of re-occupation – reclaiming home.


Scott Ruff

Scott Ruff is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the Tulane University School of Architecture. Born in Buffalo, New York, Ruff, received his first professional Bachelors of Architecture degree from Cornell University (1992) and a Masters of Architecture II from Cornell University... Read More →

Friday October 16, 2015 4:00pm - 5:30pm
01 - Rhythms Sheraton Hotel
  • CEU Hours 1