Frequently Asked Questions
The co-design process ensures that residents are partners in planning. It’s a cyclical process in which we conduct research, reach out to and engage residents in the conversation, and then analyze what we’ve found before starting the process over again. The process is founded on the following shared principles: share power, prioritize relationships, include all points of view, use all kinds of knowledge and test solutions early and often. As a resident, your experience and personal narrative are critical parts of establishing a set of practices and strategies.
Where do structural risk reduction projects (like levees) or restoration projects (like sediment diversions and marsh creation) fit into this process?
This particular process expands on—but is not the same as—the ongoing work in Louisiana to provide structural risk reduction to communities and restore or maintain wetlands. The focus here is specifically on adaptation.
This process recognizes that despite all the money and energy we dedicate to fighting land loss or mitigating flood risk, we’re losing land faster than we can restore it. We have to plan for less land and more risk, and figure out how we can adapt to different levels of risk in different areas of the state.
As populations continue to increase in low-risk areas, places with low risk need to be prepared for population growth without also increasing their own flood risk. To ensure a high quality of life for residents, good development decisions for the future must start being made today.
The LA SAFE initiative is funded through a HUD long-term disaster recovery grant, and ties back to those parishes most impacted by Hurricane Isaac in 2012. Therefore, this money must go to those qualifying parishes as a regulatory matter; however, it is a goal of the LA SAFE program to secure additional resources and expand the program statewide in the future.
At the end of the planning process, each parish will have an adaptation plan — think of this as a guide — based on the stated needs of communities within that parish. Additionally, the state continues to move towards implementation of the 10 LA SAFE demonstration projects selected for funding, investing in at least one pilot project created during the planning process for each eligible parish. More information on the LA SAFE demonstration projects can be found here.
No. By no means is the State of Louisiana planning on going into communities and telling people to move. This is an effort that is rooted in community driven initiatives. Decisions about the future will be made by those communities based on current and future risks.
The LA SAFE process is defined by a co-design planning process in which the community and the LA SAFE team work together to develop a plan for the residents who live there. This planning process gave residents the support, power, and responsibility to decide how their communities will adapt to current and future risks related to the environment, the economy and their surrounding culture. Both locally and nationally, this is a first of its kind collaboration between a state government, a philanthropic organization, and generations of residents.