Gallery: ANNOUNCING: The Winners of the ReBurbia Competition!



After much heated debate and a dramatic week of online voting, we’re thrilled to announce the winners of the Reburbia competition to redesign the suburbs! We received hundreds of incredible entries over the past month and it was quite a challenge to narrow them down to twenty finalists, and four winning entries.

FIRST PLACE: Frog’s Dream

The grand prize winner of the ReBurbia competition is…. Calvin Chiu for his ingenious plan to convert foreclosed McMansions into water-filtering wetlands that provide urban areas with a steady source of water. Dubbed Frog’s Dream, the plan stands to rehabilitate and preserve wetland environments, solve the water crisis and ensuring the sustainability of our cities in one fell swoop!

SECOND PLACE: Entrepreneurbia

The second place prize goes to Urban Nature, F&S Design Studio, and Silverlion Design for their Entreprenurbia proposal, which seeks to foster sustainable and diverse communities with a simple change in public policy. By abolishing poorly conceived zoning laws and allowing suburban residents to operate businesses out of their homes, the plan creates a community of entrepreneurs who naturally transform sprawling suburban neighborhoods into vital mixed-use communities. The practicality and simple effectiveness of this solution really struck a chord with our judging panel – it’s elegant, easily workable, and cost effective.

Third Place: Big Box Agriculture

The third place winner is Forrest Fulton, who conceived of an inspired plan to convert abandoned big-box grocery stores and desolate parking lots into food producing marketplaces. Dubbed Big Box Agriculture, the proposal combines sustainable practices of the past with new energy efficient technologies to shift the role of grocery stores from retailers of food grown far away to producers of locally grown food.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD: Urban Sprawl Repair Kit

In addition to the three winners selected by the jury, we let you be the judge and vote for your favorite entry. With over 2300 votes and 188 comments on her proposal, the winner is… Galina Tahchieva for her Urban Sprawl Repair Kit! This go-to set of solutions offers a series of simple retrofits for converting ubiquitous suburban structures into models of mixed-use efficiency.

Thank you so much to all of our readers who cast your vote and kept up the great dialogue around each of our twenty finalists, congratulations to all of our winners, and special thanks to all of the talented designers, architects, and urban planners who contributed their solutions to save suburbia!

Many thanks, as well, to our esteemed panel of judges: Fritz Haeg, Geoff Manaugh, Thomas Ermacora, Paul Petrunia, Eric Corey Freed, and Allan Chochinov.

+ ReBurbia Competition


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  1. Bman August 20, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    So what keeps our govt., philanthropic groups, NGOs/non-profits or even Trump-like real estate moguls from buying up relatively cheap, almost deserted sprawl areas and finding more applicable uses for them?

    Is it still not cost-efficient enough to justify? Do we need a zoning revolution to eliminate the bureaucratic bullshit currently in place?

    Thanks for all the unique forward thinking by all the participants. Very intriguing!!!!

  2. sistomoto August 19, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Congratulations to all winners and big thanks to all participants for their great ideas. I enjoy reading all the proposals. There is no way to find a perfect solution to solve the existing + anticipated suburbia problems. It’s also meaningless to seek quick solutions to the complex problems. It’s great for having such an opportunity to gather a group of creative thinkers and designers from different backgrounds to discuss the sub-urban issues. I found the greatest success of this competition is that it allows the participants (also the readers) to think beyond the box. How can we deal with our future problems without keeping an open mind? I believe all creative ideas have the potential to evolve to become reality, only if we allow them to happen.

  3. GKR August 19, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    C’mon Dwell and, put the bong down and get serious!

    Urban Sprawl Repair Kit shoudl have been number 1.

  4. August 19, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Contests like this are inspiring and give hope! I’ve enjoyed reading about all the ingenious ideas and hope to someday see some of them, in some form, implemented. I particularly like the big box agriculture idea — thanks for challenging people to find solutions.

  5. Cru August 19, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    This is why we can’t have nice things…

    I don’t want to live next to a mosquito spawning pit, or the hottest nightlife location who’s denizens just happen to be packing the curb space.
    I could go for some local produce though.

    But seriously, where’s the airship in the winner’s circle?

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