“Since first conceptualizing the initiative in early September 2005, Global Green envisioned ‘adopting a neighborhood’, where the organization would take responsibility for ensuring the sustainable design and construction of key assets in an impoverished neighborhood: a school; a house of worship; affordable housing; and possibly other buildings. To date, the resources and challenges to fully embrace the concept have been insurmountable. Through helping unleash the power of ideas through this design competition, the goal of ‘adopting’ a neighborhood is within our grasp.”2
The above statement is from the letter to registrants that opens the Sustainable Design Competition for New Orleans: Advancing the Sustainable Rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, as written by Matt Petersen the President and CEO of Global Green USA, the primary competition sponsor. It represents a profound shift in the conception of the design competition and its value. The vehicle of the design competition has been used as a means of reinforcing the values of the field of architecture; determining what is commendable design, theory and approach, and awarding the winners credibility and social capital. The Sustainable Design Competition for New Orleans exapts the vehicle of the design competition to promote its own agenda – a purpose outside the field of architecture. The appropriation of use of the competition is valuable in reassessing the way competitions construct the illusio of architecture for individuals within it, and for the field itself.