The suburbs are in a sorry state—rampant foreclosures, derelict downtowns, and anyone under 35 fleeing for their lives. But as we’ve reported in a look at Long Island, the burbs are now seeing the stirrings of a smart-growth insurrection as town officials try to find a sustainable way to the future. Helping lead the charge, the Long Island Index is today announcing the launch of Build a Better Burb, an open ideas competition to rethink what the suburbs can be. They want us to dream big—and they’re dangling $22,500 in prizes for the boldest solutions for retrofitting Long Island’s acres of “underperforming asphalt.”
As Nancy Rauch Douzinas, president of the Rauch Foundation and publisher of the Long Island Index, put it in a statement: “The postwar ‘first’ suburbs, exemplified nationwide by Long Island’s own Levittown, are now pushing sixty years old and the needs of these communities have changed dramatically over the years. Now is the moment to address contemporary challenges by retrofitting the prewar suburban landscape of small towns and train transit that languished during decades of construction of new highways, shopping malls, gated subdivisions, and far-flung office parks.”
The jury includes Teddy Cruz, Allison Arieff, June Williamson, Daniel D’Orca, Rob Lane, Paul Lukez, and other planners, urban designers, and architects. Register by June 21; winners will be announced in September.