Squandered Heritage Vintage

Latest score: Demolitions 20, Rebuilds 8

I’ve just analyzed the latest release of demolition applications presented by the Preservation Resource Center. They pertain only to Orleans Parish. The results:

Demolition applications by structure type:
Shotgun double: 12
Shotgun single: 3
Single-family: 5
Total demolition requests = 20

Replacement plans:
Shotgun: 0
Single-family: 6
Double: 1
Multifamily: 1
Total replacement homes planned = 8
Vacant lots “gained”: 11

A double contains 2 housing units. So the “unit score” looks even more lopsided:

Housing units that may be demolished: 32
Housing units that may be replaced: 11

That’s a net loss of 21 housing units–66% of the beginning inventory.

So what might this mean in the big picture? If this pattern persists, then up to two-thirds of the housing units that are eventually demolished will not be replaced. Half might end up as vacant lots.

The number of units that will be demolished is unknown. The quality and character of the replacement housing is unknown. Should we expect the worst? Will our stock of fine old Arts & Crafts, Italianate, Greek Revival and Eastlake shotguns be reduced forever? How much control should there be over the architecture of the replacement homes?

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