The City of D'Iberville’s southeastern end lies mostly in a floodzone and has yet to recover from Hurricane Katrina. The arrival of the Scarlet Pearl Casino in 2015 as well as the potential Poarch Creek Indian casino sparked conversation within the city to promote and redevelop an area dubbed the French Market District. In 2006, the City of D'Iberville released their Citizens Master Plan which set in place the framework to redevelop this area into a higher density, commercially vibrant hub for the City. Coast Transit Authority provided funding for a planning document prepared by Bridge & Watson, Inc. to coordinate several ongoing initiatives in the area including a new multipurpose business center and revamped public transit system.
As part of this coordinated effort to revitalize the French Market district, GCCDS was asked to prepare a “housing pattern book” which would help envision a high density transit-oriented development existing in a floodzone. Our focus was the residential aspect of the district, resulting from a demographic study prepared by Zimmerman/ Volk Associates, Inc. which indicated a considerable need for housing for the workforce, millennial and retired populations of the Gulf Coast. Working from our previous knowledge of floodproof construction as part of a research effort in 2009, GCCDS set off to explore the question of what does responsible development in a floodzone look like.
The images above depict a host of strategies aimed to provide resilient, urban and socially-vibrant housing. Dry floodproofing would be employed in commercial properties with housing located in the stories above. While many of the structures are elevated, numerous streetside entrances and balconies help to maintain a physical and visual connection to the street. Areas under elevated structures are useful for ancillary uses such as parking, storage, bicycle parking and repair, and recreational activities, which would be resilient to flooding in a major storm event.