Bloustein School News

Marla Nelson to discuss planning and policy interventions in New Orleans regarding post-Katrina vacant properties

Marla Nelson MCRP '97, PhD '03, Associate Professor in the Department of Planning and Urban Studies at the University of New Orleans speak at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, April 2 at the final Bloustein PhD Colloquium Speaker Series lecture. Her discussion will be "Recovery in a Shrinking City: Challenges to “Rightsizing” Post-Katrina New Orleans." It will be held in room 369 of the Civic Square Building, 33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ.

More than six years after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, vacant property remains a daunting redevelopment challenge facing New Orleans. With an estimated 48,000 such residential properties, New Orleans has among the highest percent of unoccupied residential addresses in the nation. In addition to posing serious safety hazards, blighted structures and unmaintained lots threaten to undermine fragile neighborhood recovery efforts and deter future investment. This talk addresses planning and policy interventions to deal with vacant and abandoned property in New Orleans and the difficulties city officials have faced in translating the desire for a safer, better city into policies that could direct a just redevelopment.

At UNO Nelson serves as the coordinator of the the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program, the only accredited planning program in the state of Louisiana. Her areas of expertise include local and regional economic development, community development and urban revitalization.

Nelson’s recent research examined the economic and workforce development potential of health services in central cities throughout the United States. Her current work focuses on two key areas. The first examines how cities cope with population decline, whether sudden or prolonged, sustained or temporary, and the tensions among equity, efficiency and environmental management in the implementation of redevelopment strategies in weak market cities. The second investigates the locational preferences of a segment of the “creative class”— socially motivated professionals. The rebuilding circumstances in New Orleans create a unique opportunity to examine this sub-group of professionals. New Orleans, which had been facing a brain drain for decades prior to Hurricane Katrina, has attracted large numbers of highly mobile, young professionals who have moved to the city to take part in recovery and rebuilding.

All faculty, staff, students, and alumni are invited to attend.

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