Gallery: ‘Build a Better Burb’ Competition Revitalizes Suburban Areas

Manhattan may be a densely developed, well-oiled machine, but the neighboring suburbs of this bustling metropolitan paint another picture. These spaces are littered with vacant lots, barren asphalt parking, and other signs of poor urban planning -- elements that continue to reap socio-economic havoc in the communities where they are located. “Build a Better Burb” is a new design competition that sets out to recover 8,300 acres (roughly equal to the area south of 50th Street in Manhattan) in the Long Island boroughs of New York City.

One entry in particular that has caught our eye comes via the design team of Tobias Holler, Katelyn Mulry, Sven Peters and Ana Serra. Their impressive submission 'LIRR: Long Island Radically Rezoned – A Regenerative Vision for a Living Island' has not only been selected as a finalist of Build a Better Burb, but Tobias Holler also has a special connection to Inhabitat – Tobias was the runner-up in our ‘Pimp My Eco-Ride Contest’ last summer! Read ahead for details on their impressive submission, which addresses issues related to developing community relationships with nature, renewable energy, water, locally-produced food, and effective waste management.

Calling out to architects, urban designers, planners, students, visionaries, the Build a Better Burb competition seeks to find a bold new design proposal that can retrofit underutilized spaces in suburban downtowns with more effective uses, forms and practices in planning and design. More than an opportunity to tout conceptual ideas in flashy and unfeasible renderings, this competition aims to take hold of the pressing challenges these communities are facing and turn them into opportunities for economic productivity, environmental sensitivity, social sustainability, and beautification.

You can take a look at all the finalists here, and be sure to submit a vote for your favorite entry!

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  1. philg July 26, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Interesting and intriguing.. but sadly a waste of time. You’d need a revolution or ‘gasp’ socialism to get people, stores, and businesses to give up their locations. NIMBY signs would take over every free billboard spot. They can’t even build a much needed bridge from LI to CT.

  2. June W July 19, 2010 at 11:53 am

    If you think this submission is intriguing, please check out the full gallery of 23 Build a Better Burb finalists, where there are many other powerful ideas.
    It really is time to fundamentally retrofit suburbia, and what better place to start seriously thinking about it than Long Island, especially with its existing infrastructure of the Long Island Rail Road.

  3. sickspeed July 14, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    This is powerful thinking. I love it. We need to find a better solution than sprawl.

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