Critical to the work of this studio is determining where to rebuild, where to reconstruct wetlands, and where to create intermediate zones. How does one draw these lines? Contour lines are an abstraction related to an empirical condition that can be seen and felt on the ground. Property lines are a social construct that may not be physically perceived but that have major implications in reality. The flows of water follow their own lines, impartial to social boundaries.

We will begin by attempting to identify factors that will help us determine what areas we think should be unbuildable. What perspectives are we to consider in determining where to draw the lines?

As a group, we identified four broad interests and a set of factors to consider within each:



Wetlands perspective.

– Landowners

– Neighbors

– Cultural value (historic, institutions)

– Race

– Watershed

– Drainage on peninsula (surface & structural)

– functional wetlands (habitat, drainage, flood protection, other functions?)

– historic wetlands

– national wetlands inventory & other protected lands

– live oak mapping

– Housing assessment – damage from Katrina, vacant lots

– Land ownership

– Clusters owned by one entity; absentee landowners

– Points of cultural interest/landmarks/


– Neighbors – how does this line affect surrounding areas?

– Disproportionate impact of these lines on particular racial, ethnic, or socio-economic groups



– Role of city/government

– Hazard Mitigation (minimizing risk)

Specific issues of development versus abstract analyses from insurance or building cost perspective

– Hazard mitigation – inundation zone, damage assessment; federal programs and how they define eligibility

– Base flood elevations

– Existing plans and identified no-build zones

– City’s intentions, both in mitigation and in development expectations; tax impacts

– Insurance – costs of elevating

– Construction costs

– Casino zone

– Employment/businesses

– Landowners

– Industry


Working in groups, generate maps reflecting the priorities of each of these perspectives. From each stand point, where would you draw the no-build line? Use other media, as needed, to represent these viewpoints. The goal is to answer for each group, or subgroup (as these will differ) what land should not be developed? How and where do we define that line? Consider what information you need for each perspective in order to make decisions that are informed. Identify areas where interests begin to compete. When drawing these lines, keep a count of how many parcels of land are taken out of development versus total number of parcels in East Biloxi.

The final assignment is due in studio on Wednesday, February 13th, and will be presented to the Gulf Coast Housing Resource Network on Thursday, the 14th.