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By Kathleen Coverick, Urban Planning Fellow, Broadmoor Improvement Association

 

In November 2008, GISCorps received a request for a GIS instructor from Broadmoor Improvement Association (BIA). They asked that the volunteer would go on-site (in New Orleans) and train three of their employees on the use of the advanced use of ArcGIS software. Kathleen Coverick, Urban Planning Fellow at BIA, noted that though the BIA had purchased the software, the staff had only very basic knowledge of its usage and the training was intended to make GIS a much more powerful tool for helping the organization meet the needs of a community hard hit by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The recruitment resulted in deploying GISCorps volunteer Jennifer Harrison, President, Inner Corridor Technologies, Inc. in Houston, Texas, to BIA’s office in New Orleans. The training was conducted on February 19-20, 2009.

Example of a map created by BIA Staff

The BIA is one of the oldest neighborhood associations in New Orleans. Established in 1930 as the Broadmoor Civic Improvement Association to address the needs of the developing Broadmoor neighborhood, it was incorporated in 1970 as the Broadmoor Improvement Association, Inc. to stop "blockbusting" in Broadmoor, at the time a well-established, multi-racial/multi-ethnic community already living in harmony.  Since that time, the BIA has worked diligently to address the concerns of residents.

After Katrina, the BIA was faced with an extraordinary challenge: to organize and lead the residents of Broadmoor in a coordinated and effective rebuilding effort. The BIA is the community vehicle for residents to participate in the planning and implementation of recovery projects. The mission statement for the BIA was modified to incorporate the mission of rebuilding the physical and social aspects of neighborhood:

"The vision for Broadmoor is to fully repopulate the neighborhood, rebuild the infrastructure and institutions, and develop a safer, stronger community that is committed to providing a better quality of life for all residents."
Led by the BIA, residents came together in a comprehensive, resident-driven planning process to create a redevelopment plan for the neighborhood. To effectively implement the redevelopment plan, the BIA works closely with the city government and has represented Broadmoor residents in numerous cases concerning zoning and other key rebuilding issues.  The BIA has created a Social Work department, and is tracking residents’ needs and recovery status of the properties in the neighborhood through an online database.
Example of a map created by BIA Staff
Thanks to GISCorps training, the BIA has been able to begin mapping where the needs of its residents are greatest as well as where the BIA has provided assistance.

From an email sent to GISCorps shortly after the training:

“....I just wanted to let you know that we had our training with Jenny over the past two days.  She was absolutely wonderful and helpful, and we've already begun to use what we learned through the training by preparing our data so that it can be more easily used in tandem with GIS.  I so appreciate your assistance in finding Jenny.  GISCorps has provided us with an invaluable resource that will be coming in handy in the future.

Many thanks, Kathleen
Kathleen Coverick
Urban Planning Fellow
Broadmoor Development Corporation
Broadmoor Improvement Association
New Orleans, LA...”