Monday, August 18, 2008 Orleanians.
The first attempt to 'shrink the footprint' was the plan released by the Mayor Nagin's Bring New Orleans Back Commission. Their prototype map of the future New Orleans showed large green dots signifying a plan to raze culturally significant and historic neighborhoods and replace them with parks. The second attempt was the toothless Unified New Orleans Plan, or UNOP. This plan was empowered to do largely the same thing as the BNOB plan, only this time with the rubber stamp of "citizen input." The citizen participation process for UNOP was lead by Concordia, an architecture and planning firm lead by Steven Bingler. From the perspective of citizens, Concordia's public participation efforts were abysmally undemocratic. Public meetings were poorly advertised and input was largely relegated to those with access to internet or fax. The idea was to create the illusion of democratic participation in order to codify the same small footprint proposed by Bring New Orleans Back Commission.
Thus, it came as no surprise when the State Superintendent of Education, Paul Pastorek selected Steven Bingler's Concordia to lead the master plan for New Orleans schools. Teaming with Concordia to assess the state of New Orleans school facilities was Parsons Corp, recently the subject of a large scale investigation after bilking taxpayers out of millions of dollars in bogus postwar rebuilding contracts in Iraq.