Waggonner and ball logotype black
Waggonner and ball logotype white
3geology 01 sm 1000 0x48x2200x1468 q85

Louisiana SAFE

Waggonner and ball logotype black

Louisiana SAFE

A holistic coastal adaptation strategy integrating risk assessment with planning for stormwater, housing, transportation, economic development, education, recreation, and culture.

Set precariously on the ever-shifting sediment of the Mississippi delta, South Louisiana leads the world in its rate of coastal land loss, ceding to erosion and subsidence nearly 2000 square miles since the 1930s. Considering sea level rise accelerated by global warming, the state's losses are poised to nearly double by midcentury. In response to the coastal crisis, Louisiana's Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE) brought together a multi-disciplinary team of experts to produce a framework for sustained prosperity amid rapid land loss and shifting social, economic, and ecological conditions. As design lead, Waggonner & Ball conducted research and analysis of the built and natural landscape, working to develop comprehensive adaptation strategies for the six target parishes as well as a wide range of catalytic project concepts. Community engagement experts led the team through over 70 public meetings across the region, collecting input from stakeholders to hear resident concerns, identify risk zones and select projects for implementation. The strategies of LA SAFE demonstrate that although the state will continue to lose land in the 21st century, its near-term investments on high ground have the power to substantially mitigate environmental threats and sustain quality of life for generations of Louisianans to come.

La safe map 800 19x0x2062x1374 q85
Oil & Gas Infrastructure and Wildlife Habitat
La safe map6 800 19x0x2062x1374 q85
Elevation
La safe map4 800 19x0x2062x1374 q85
La safe map5 800 19x0x2062x1374 q85
La safe map2 800 19x0x2062x1374 q85
Identified Risk Zones
Terr mtg 1 dsc 0623 800 0x0x6002x4000 q85
Stakeholder Meeting
La safe map3 800 19x0x2062x1374 q85
The challenge for South Louisiana is greater than coastal restoration, as projections indicate that land is lost faster than it can be rebuilt. Adaptation over the next half century will mean adjusting to a shrinking footprint.
  • Year
    2019
  • View the Strategies
    lasafe.la.gov
  • Budget
    $40 million

The cornerstone of the project is a series of 50-year Parish Vision Strategies that address the myriad impacts of past and future floods across more than 5 million acres of land and water. Taking projections from the State’s Coastal Master Plan, the design team worked to identify risk areas and to develop planning strategies that account for a retreating coastline and increased flood threats. Where the Coastal Master Plan is aimed at slowing rates of land loss and rebuilding it strategically, LA SAFE provides a framework for urbanization and community development in the context of the land that remains. In low risk areas on the highest ground, the strategies call for denser neighborhoods with diversified and sustainable economies, internal stormwater management that handles water where it falls, and increased transportation options to support growing a population. In the highest risk areas, the strategies propose elevated evacuation routes and improved infrastructure to support coastal workers, expanded recreation and ecotourism industries, and a transition away from primary residences outside the levee system.

2018 0423 lafourche   parish mask rgb 800 0x0x5765x6461 q85
Lafourche Parish 50-Year Vision
2018 0522 jefferson rgb widened 800 0x0x7500x12029 q85
Jefferson Parish 50-Year Vision
2018 0531 plaquemines rgb 800 0x0x7148x7517 q85
Plaquemines Parish 50-Year Vision
2018 0425 st tammany rgb 800 0x0x5519x5505 q85
St. Tammany Parish 50-Year Vision
2018 0605 st john rgb 800 0x0x5764x6572 q85
St. John the Baptist Parish 50-Year Vision
2018 0606 terrebonne   parish mask rgb 800 0x0x7422x8663 q85
Terrebonne Parish 50-Year Vision
Fmb perspective 1200 0x0x6820x5066 q85
Fmb train station   street view 1200 0x0x4400x2747 q85
Fmb harbor of refuge 1200 282x833x5243x5422 q85
Fmb dubourg canal perspective 1200 262x0x8618x6600 q85
20180910 petal plan 1200 0x0x5100x3300 q85
Golden meadow elementary plan 1200 487x86x10996x6528 q85
Fmb village in the woods   street perspective 1200 0x0x8656x7214 q85
Fmb seafood market safe harbor v2 1200 0x415x10160x6804 q85

The parish vision strategies were supplemented with 36 catalytic project concepts to improve livability and quality of life in the region despite increasing flood risk, which together address resilience holistically from many perspectives. Through sustained community meetings across the region, residents narrowed the range of projects and voted for one per parish to receive funding for implementation. A number of these projects are under development now, several by Waggonner and Ball.

While the effects of climate change will undoubtedly alter the urbanization patterns of the 21st century, and will no doubt deal many a traumatic blow to regions across the globe, LA SAFE offers an early model of the visionary pragmatism needed to sustain culture and quality of life amid unprecedented environmental uncertainty.