Changing Course is a design competition to reimagine a more sustainable Lower Mississippi River Delta, bringing teams together from around the world to create innovative visions for one of America’s greatest natural resources.
Competing teams were tasked with developing 100-year visions for restoring and sustaining Louisiana’s eroding coast for the people, communities and industries that call the region home. These innovative ideas addressed a variety of factors, and they promote a sustainable delta that will continue to provide for future generations.
Changing Course hopes to encourage and inform thoughtful discussion among the residents, industries, communities and governments of southeast Louisiana about how the region can become more resilient and prosperous while dealing with the practical challenges of land loss and sea level rise. The ideas generated by the three winning teams – Baird & Associates, Moffatt & Nichol and Studio Misi-Ziibi – serve as a starting point for that discussion.
Building off of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan, the teams generated designs for how the Mississippi River’s water and sediment can be used to maximize rebuilding of delta wetlands over the next 100 years while also continuing to meet the needs of navigation and flood protection.
While each of the winning teams offered a different vision, all three identified the same key requirements as critical to sustaining the Mississippi River Delta today and into the future:
- Reconnecting the Mississippi River to its wetlands to help restore southeast Louisiana’s first line of defense against powerful storms and rising sea levels.
- Planning for a sustainable delta, including a gradual shift in population to create more protected and resilient communities.
- Protecting and maximizing the region’s port and maritime activities, including moving the navigation channel further up within the system.
- Increasing economic opportunities in a future smaller delta through expanding shipping capacity, coastal restoration infrastructure, outdoor recreation and tourism and commercial fishing.