Monday, August 22, 2011

The Myth of Synergy

It's been proclaimed dead here and on sites like for years (literally), but the supposed synergy of the LSU/VA hospital projects finally took a death blow in the mainstream media when the Times-Picayune delved in on Sunday:

The separate plans highlight the evolution of the two medical centers from visions of a true joint project to talk of shared facilities and, finally, to the reality of two adjacent complexes with considerably fewer "synergies" than what state and federal authorities once agreed were possible. Even the prospect of any remaining cooperation is up in the air.

LSU, as has been clear to many of us all along, simply used the VA as its stalking horse to get what a man at a recent public meeting called "LSU's play pen" in what is now the ruined LSU Footprint site.

The Times-Picayune also finally makes a comment touching on some of the skepticism about BioDistrict New Orleans:

Even with partnership options available, the fluidity of the plans stand in stark contrast to the way government officials have pitched the two new medical centers, which in turn are framed as the public's $2 billion-plus anchor investment for a New Orleans BioDistrict, which is both a state-chartered entity and a concept that envisions downtown and Mid-City blossoming into an epicenter for health care, medical research and scientific innovation.

It's largely a mirage at this point - a dangerous mirage that puts large swaths of Mid-City neighborhood as risk.

Like the UMC, the BioDistrict as its currently configured is excessively ambitious and incompatible with the historic fabric of New Orleans.  It's not an inherently bad thing - it's just being incredibly sloppy and sprawling in its push for development.

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