Spackman Mossop Michaels has developed schemes for 4 different vacant lots owned by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) as part of their beautification program. The lots are in different neighborhoods spread out across the city from the Lower 9th Ward to Algiers to the 7th Ward. The goal of the program is to educate the community about the benefits of green practices like planting native trees and stormwater management. The design for each lot is unique and was determined based on feedback from a series of community meetings. The construction budget for each lot ranged from $40,000 to $100,000.
The design for the lot at 2222 N. Broad Street was heavily influenced by its site context located next to the Florida Avenue Canal and across the street from Pump Station No. 3. SMM collaborated with a local artist to produce large scale graphics that contain educational, but approachable information about water issues in New Orleans. SMM designed an open air pavilion that, when it rains, drains into an elevated bioswale which empties into an inground rain garden. SMM sought to reveal elements of green infrastructure that are normally below ground and invisible.