Tuesday, February 1, 2022

A cautionary tale of sustainable building practices and more

After Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans in 2005, destroying large sections of the city and displacing thousands of residents, award-winning movie star Brad Pitt decided to take action to help suffering residents. He launched an organization called “Make It Right” and set off on a mission to build more than 100 environmentally conscious, sustainable homes in the city's impoverished Lower Ninth Ward, one of the neighborhoods hit hardest by the storm.

But now, several years later, the vast majority of Make It Right's homes are in shambles and are suffering from catastrophic structural defects, according to Judith Keller, an international research scholar in geography at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Meanwhile, Pitt's organization has apparently folded under the weight of numerous lawsuits.

What are the details?

Writing for the Conversation, Keller reported that only six of the homes remain in reasonably good shape. Several have been demolished, at least another six have been boarded up and abandoned, and countless others are "riddled with construction-related problems that have led to mold, termites, rotting wood, flooding, and other woes." Many residents have reportedly filed lawsuits against the organization that are still pending.

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