23 Finalists in the “Build a Better Burb” Ideas Competition for Retrofitting Long Island’s Downtowns

For Immediate Release
Media Contact:
Deanna Morton, InfiniTech
516-829-5502 dmorton@infinitechpronline.com

Long Island Index Announces 23 Finalists in the “Build a Better Burb” Ideas Competition for Retrofitting Long Island’s Downtowns

Jury of Professionals and Academics Select Finalists Eligible for $22,500 in Prizes The Long Island Index People’s Choice Award to be selected by the Public

Garden City, NY (June 29, 2010) – A distinguished panel of jurors selected 23 finalists from more than two hundred submissions from around the nation and the world in the Build A Better Burb open ideas competition. The Long Island Index invited architects, urban designers, planners, students, and visionaries to submit bold design proposals for capitalizing on the potential of the “underperforming asphalt” found in dozens of downtowns in New York’s Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Competition advisor June Williamson, co-author of “Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs,” helped conceive the competition to solicit innovative design ideas for retrofitting the 8,300 acres of opportunity in 156 downtowns and train station-adjacent areas highlighted in the Long Island Index 2010 “Places to Grow” report. It also invited designers to consider island-wide challenges that could be addressed by bold design strategies.

“The response from the design community was tremendous,” said Ann Golob, director of the Long Island Index. ”The energy of designers from around the nation and the world who tackled the proposition that we can build even better communities in the first suburbs of Long Island was extremely gratifying. It was a bold move to sponsor this competition, a first for us, and it is thrilling to see the creative use the designers have made of the data we have painstakingly assembled and tracked here at the Index over the years. It was a tough job for our invited jurors to select the group of finalists featured on our website.”

The finalist’s ideas run the gamut. Some approached the issue from a regional perspective; others were more localized. None of the ideas are small ones with just a single building to retrofit a downtown. The finalists were thinking bigger, long-term. Some are idealistic, others are inherently practical. Regardless, they are thought provoking and ask Long Islanders to consider how the first suburb might be transformed for this century.

Below is the list of finalists, where they are from and the names of their submissions.


LIRR Long Island Radically Rezoned Tobias Holler Brooklyn NY USA
Democratic participation in design process three link TEHRAN Iran
Levittown: Increasing Density and Opportunity through the Accessory Dwelling Structure Meri Tepper New York NY USA
Reclaiming Community Courtney Embrey New York NY USA
Rail Park Michael Prattico Rochester NY USA
Upcycling 2.0 ryan lovett New York NY USA
Re-Emerging Past Ryan Hayward Medford MA USA
SUBHUB Transit System Michael Piper Brooklyn NY USA
Open Source Suburbs Siobhan Watson Brooklyn NY USA
The Articulated Strip: or, How the Strip Mall Can Save Suburbia Judith K. De Jong Chicago IL USA
ENTER\\SHIFT Gordana Marjanovic Novi Sad Serbia
REpark: Adapting Long Island’s commercial infrastructure to an emerging network. Scalar Architecture New York NY USA
re-lief Kipp C. Edick New Haven CT USA
Bethpage MoMA P.S.2 Nelson Peng Philadelphia PA USA
The Living Market Emily Talen Tempe AZ USA
The Living Market Emily Talen Tempe AZ USA
THE 21st CENTURY RIGHT-OF-WAY Ian Caine Saint Louis MO USA
B.U.R.P the Burb – Build Urban Relationships for People in Hicksville, NY Matt Tomasulo Raleigh NC USA
HuB-URB Jing Su Hoboken NJ USA
AgISLAND Amy Ford-Wagner New York NY USA
Long Division Kazys Varnelis New York NY USA
Building C-Burbia denise hoffman brandt brooklyn NY USA

A special “People’s Choice Award” is being publicized in a broad media campaign designed to get out the vote. During the months of July and August, look for signage on buses in both Nassau and Suffolk counties, flyers on LIRR passenger seats and posters at libraries in Nassau and Suffolk encouraging patrons to cast their vote on library computers. Voting opens shortly and ends August 31.

The public is encouraged to participate by visiting www.buildabetterburb.org to learn more about the competition and to view the proposals of the finalists and cast their vote. The winners of the competition as selected by the jury and the Long Island Index People’s Choice Award recipient will be announced at a press conference on October 4, 2010 at the Community Development 3 Corporation of Long Island 40th Anniversary Gala luncheon. A First Prize of $10,000, and $10,000 in additional prizes, will be awarded along with a $2,500 prize for the top project submitted by a student currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program.

According to Nancy Rauch Douzinas, president of the Rauch Foundation and publisher of the Long Island Index, “Sponsoring the Build a Better Burb competition provides us with a unique opportunity to further our goal at the Index of providing the public with timely, useful information as well as innovative ideas and visions to help build a better Long Island. With the current economic issues facing our region, this is the right time to address how to create the homes, jobs, and communities we need. We hope through the public campaign this summer to really get Long Islanders talking in a more vigorous way about working together to shape our shared future.”

“The submitted ideas were tremendously varied in scale, scope and point of view, but most were both highly imaginative and optimistic,” said competition advisor June Williamson. “They reflect the broad range of current progressive design thinking about the challenges of retrofitting and reshaping the development patterns of North American suburbs, which experts concur must change.”

The best submissions, richly illustrated with plans, renderings, diagrams and videos, were selected as finalists by a diverse jury of distinguished academics and professionals. They are:

  • Allison Arieff, design journalist, contributor to the New York Times “Opinionator” blog and GOOD Magazine
  • Daniel D’Oca, partner at Interboro, New York, and assistant professor, Maryland College of Art
  • Rob Lane, director of the Design Program at the Regional Plan Association Paul Lukez, principal of Paul Lukez Architecture, Boston, and author of Suburban Transformations
  • Lee Sobel, real estate development and finance analyst, U.S. EPA: Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation
  • Galina Tahchieva, partner at Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, Miami, author of the forthcoming Sprawl Repair Manual
  • Georgeen Theodore, partner at Interboro, New York, and associate director of the infrastructure planning program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology

Jury Coordinator:
June Williamson, associate professor of architecture, City College of New York/CUNY, and co-author of Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs

About the Rauch Foundation: The Long Island Index is funded by the Rauch Foundation, a family foundation headquartered in Garden City, New York. In addition to funding the Long Island Index for seven years the Rauch Foundation commissioned The Long Island Profile Report and a series of polls on Long Island to determine how the region is faring. The Long Island Index 2004, Long Island Index 2005, Long Island Index 2006, Long Island Index 2007, 4 Long Island Index 2008, Long Island Index 2009 and Long Island Index 2010 are all available for download atwww.longislandindex.org. The Long Island Index interactive maps, an online resource with detailed demographic, residential, transportation and educational information, is also accessible from the Index’s website.