Raising Buildings: The Resilience of Elevated Structures

  • Jori A. Erdman
  • Elizabeth A. Williams
  • Christopher W. James
  • Giovanni P. Coakley
Part of the Estuaries of the World book series (EOTW)


Living on the Lousisana coast has always been defined by the influences of the deltaic environment, climate, and the resilience of the communities and individuals who inhabit this dynamic place. Unfortunately, a variety of factors have contributed to the continuous degradation of the coast; the land upon which people depend for inhabitation and settlement is disappearing beneath the water at an accelerated pace. In addition, flooding events have become more frequent and costly. The most common response is to elevate structures above the land in order to minimize damage and reduce risk, however, living in this condition presents unique challenges for people and communities. Current building practices and materials, including slab-on-grade construction and drywall assemblies making post-flood events more damaging and costly than necessary as well as extending the disruptions of post-flood recovery. Elevating buildings is one strategy for improving the resilience of communities, individuals and structures. Living above the land means that structures must adapt through the use of vertical circulation in the form of ramps, stairs and elevators. This chapter will address the building practices and methods employed in south Louisiana as well as impacts on the individual and collective living.


Elevated structure Building codes Architecture Resilience 


  1. Barnes S, Bond C, Burger N, Anania K, Strong A, Weilant S, Virgets S (2015) Economic evaluation of coastal land loss in Louisiana. Louisiana State University and the Rand Corporation. Published online. Accessed March 2017
  2. Broome C, Dubinin J, Jenkins P (2015) The view from the coast: local perspectives and policy recommendations on flood-risk reduction in South Louisiana. Published online. Accessed March 2017
  3. DeRussy LG (1859) Special report relative to the cost of draining the swamp lands bordering on lake Pontchartrain. J. M. Taylor, State Printer, Baton RougeGoogle Scholar
  4. Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) (2017) 2017 Louisiana coastal master plan. Published online. Accessed April 2017
  5. Etlin R (1994) Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier: the romantic legacy. Manchester University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Fox DW (1966) Miss Twiggley’s tree. Parents’ Magazine Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. McGranahan G, Balk D, Anderson B (2007) The rising tide: assessing the risks of climate change and human settlements in low elevation coastal zones. Environ Urban 19(1):17–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Napier HE (1847) Florentine History, from the Earliest Authentic Records to the Accession of Ferdinand III. Grand Duc of Tuscany. Vol. 5. Moxon:1847Google Scholar
  9. Nordrum A (2014) Architects place priority on public health for 2015. Scientific American, December 15:2014. Google Scholar
  10. World Health Organization (1991) Surface water drainage for low-income communities. Published online. Accessed March 2017

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jori A. Erdman
    • 1
  • Elizabeth A. Williams
    • 2
  • Christopher W. James
    • 1
  • Giovanni P. Coakley
    • 1
  1. 1.School of ArchitectureLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.Foundation for LouisianaBaton RougeUSA

Personalised recommendations