In an area of New Orleans that was once populated by 249 homes, cranes loom over a vast complex of medical buildings under construction. Construction is now well underway and the new Louisiana State University and Veterans Affairs hospitals are on track to open in 2014.
The new medical complex is one major part of a plan to create a world class biosciences and healthcare district in New Orleans. Part investment friendly policy and part urban planning endeavor, BioDistrict New Orleans is an economic development district that is responsible for the growth of the biosciences sector of the New Orleans economy.
BioDistrict New Orleans encourages the physical development of buildings to house healthcare services and biosciences research and facilitates partnerships between government, educational institutions, private companies and foundations. In addition to the new hospitals, other research universities and the New Orleans BioInnovation Center are assets that can help burgeoning biotech industries in the city.
The BioDistrict hopes to be more than just a district where people come to work. The vision is that these bioscience entities will create stable, high paying jobs that will form the basis of a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood. Flanked by one current streetcar line and more proposed transit lines, the district aspires to attract a healthy, educated population and become one of the most sustainable neighborhoods in the nation.
Although work on the Veterans Affairs and Louisiana State University Hospitals began with controversial site acquisition and grassroots opposition, New Orleans has high hopes for the overall aims of the BioDistrict. With smart policies and a thoughtful plan for altering the urban landscape, the BioDistrict could develop into an economic engine and a desirable neighborhood in New Orleans.
How are medical and biotech developments affecting your city?
Credits: Photos by Jessica Yoon. Map courtesy of BioDistrict New Orleans. Data linked to sources.