Thursday, August 26, 2010

'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.

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. 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.

One interesting entry in particular comes from the design team of Tobias Holler, Katelyn Mulry, Sven Peters and Ana Serra. Their submission is called 'LIRR: Long Island Radically Rezoned – A Regenerative Vision for a Living Island'. Their proposal applys closed-loop principles on a macro scale. The resulting plan finds water, energy and waste neutrality, 100% of food is locally-produced, and the overall condition results in a 50/50 balance between nature and man-made.

The structures which sit at the bottom right of the image below, dubbed 'Bucky Domes' represent glass-enclosed high-density hydroponic farms, which will be responsible for producing food for all of Long Island. Wind farms sit offshore, taking advantage of the natural air currents.

Smart cells follow land use logic based on infrastructure - existing LIRR stations will be the focal point on which area subdivisions are made. Densification will occur within the downtown to more effectively utilize the man-made landscape, leaving open space in the surrounding area for agriculture and habitat restoration.

Fossil fuel-free transportation is the goal of the new system. To compliment the eco-efficiency of the existing LIRR, there will be restricted car access zones, eco boulevards with light rail, hybrid buses, and bikeways.

Downtown Hicksville is the model for revitalization, which follows four strategies that will alter vacant spaces and achieve the required suburban density.

No comments:

Post a Comment