The suburban landscape consists largely of endless expanses of paved parking lots pocked with strip malls, gas stations, chain restaurants, and McMansions. Rather than razing these structures with the aim of greening the suburbs, Galina Tahchieva proposes that we retrofit them to create “a more diverse, cohesive urban fabric within a walkable and identifiable public realm.” The winner of the People’s Choice Award in our Reburbia competition with over 2,300 votes, the Urban Sprawl Repair Kit offers a go-to set of solutions for transforming 5 structures spawned from suburban sprawl into mixed-use models of urban efficiency.

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In contrast to some of the more outlandish approaches that we’ve seen to green the suburbs, Galina Tahchieva’s Urban Sprawl Repair Kit offers a simple set of infill techniques that are every bit as practical as they are effective at eliminating suburban sprawl. Using renewable technologies and energy-efficient practices, strip centers and big-box stores can be converted into solar-powered recycling centers, restaurant parking lots become mixed-use commercial centers, and McMansions are transformed into multi-resident senior housing.

The greenest buildings are those that are never built, which is why we’re big fans of Tahchieva’s toolkit. Her set of plans make the most of suburbia’s sprawl, renovating existing structures to create denser, healthier, and more cohesive communities.

The Urban Sprawl Repair Kit swept the ReBurbia online voting competition with 2,348 votes, netting it a People’s Choice Award! For more great designs to save our suburbs be sure to check out the top three winners selected by our judges in addition to the top 20 finalists and our favorite notable mentions.

+ Urban Sprawl Repair Kit

+ ReBurbia