It’s official. The suburbs are here to stay. Now we just need to figure out what to do with them. At least that’s the premise of the Build A Better Burb competition that we told you about back in July, when entries submitted by architects, urban designers, planners, visionaries and students, all vying for $22,500 in prizes, were slimmed down to 23 finalists.
And the winners are…
This ambitious entry has Long Island reclaiming its agrarian roots, replacing office parks with farms. It also calls for consolidating and relocating 9 million square feet of office space along Route 110, utilizing a transit-oriented model.
Landscape designers created “an infrastructure system for short-term biomass storage and formation of long-term soil carbon reservoirs in suburban landscape.”
Levittown: Increasing Density and Opportunity through the Accessory Dwellings
One problem of suburban life in the NYC metro area is a lack of affordable housing options. One solution proposed here is to allow a homeowner to maximize the buildable area of his/her lot, preferably by using modular forms (instead of timber) the structure can expand and contract as needs change.
This vision of a sustainable Long Island starts with a regional plan that aims to preserve the island’s aquifer, maximize transportation, and targets several underutilized downtowns for growth. The plan calls for new typologies of space combined with planned voids.
SUBHUB Transit System
Transit doesn’t always go where people need it to and is sometimes too big for it’s own good. Instead, a more walkable and extensive micro-infrastructure that consists of re-imagined transit, a HUB at existing train stations where people and goods transfer to a smaller shuttle system, and SUBHUBs at existing public schools is envisioned for Long Island.
The winning student submission is: Upcycling 2.0
These Columbia University students target the ubiquitous suburban typologies — single family house, strip mall, train station, street medians, big box stores, endless parking lots — and re-appropriates them.
The winning Long Island Index People’s Choice Award, selected by the public, goes to: LIRR: Long Island Radically Rezoned
Long Island becomes Living Island by re-densifying the residential fabric, re-centering public space around train stations, and chopping up underused parking surfaces into small blocks that are a more appropriate fit for scale of the neighborhood.
While the Long Island Index originally anticipated having a first prize and multiple other winners, the jurors felt that the winning submissions were all strong and decided to honor the top designs equally. Therefore, $20,000 will be split among the top five designs; each will receive $4,000: The student prize was $2,500. ( The “People’s Choice Award” did not have a cash prize.)