Build a Better Burb Winners Announced

Media Contact:
Deanna Morton, InfiniTech

Long Island, the Nation’s First Suburb, Gets A Makeover

Winners of “Build a Better Burb” Ideas Competition for Retrofitting Long Island Downtowns Announced

Garden City, NY (October 4, 2010) – The dream that drove the development of Long Island is no longer viable. The Long Island Index developed the “Build a Better Burb” Ideas Competition for Retrofitting Long Island’s Downtowns to attract bold new ideas to address some of the most important problems facing the region including; loss of young people, low paying jobs and the increasing unaffordability of the region. Today the winners of the competition were announced at a press conference hosted by the Community Development Corporation (CDC) of Long Island at Crest Hollow Country Club, in Woodbury, NY. The competition drew 212 submissions, from more than 30 countries, and showcased designs for retrofitting Long Island’s 156 downtowns and train-adjacent areas. A distinguished panel of jurors selected 23 finalists and then 6 winners from entries submitted by architects, urban designers, planners, visionaries and students, all vying for $22,500 in prizes. A 7th winner, for the “People’s Choice Award,” was selected by the public over the summer. The 40th Anniversary CDC Gala and Luncheon followed the press conference and provided a unique opportunity to showcase these winning ideas. More than 350 attendees, including elected officials, builders, developers, bankers and others talked to the winners, viewed their displays, and discussed how their ideas could be moved from concept to reality.

Marianne Garvin, CDC president and CEO, opened the press conference and stated, “We are proud to host Long Island Index and the winners of their ‘Build a Better Burb’ design competition. As CDC celebrates our 40th Anniversary, it is fitting to showcase the ideas generated from this competition to stimulate action toward potential solutions for retrofitting Long Island’s aging downtowns. While we look back at past successes today, we also look forward to partnering with other committed stakeholders to achieve the revitalization and sustainability of Long Island for the benefit of all of its residents.”

Nancy Douzinas, President, Rauch Foundation and publisher of the Long Island Index, explained the significance of presenting the winners at the CDC luncheon and pointed out that,  “We are delighted by the imagination of these winning submissions.  Long Island needs this kind of creative energy to tackle our problems and open up the discussion to a wider set of opportunities that might be included in our future plans.” June Williamson, associate professor of architecture, City College of New York / CUNY and co-author of “Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs,” served as the consultant for the competition and today announced the winners, who are:

Team: Parsons Brinckerhoff: Amy Ford-Wagner, Tom Jost, Ebony Sterling, Philip Jonat, Emily Hull, Will Wagenlander, Meg Cederoth, Melanie George, David Greenblatt, Melissa Targett

Building C-Burbia
Team: The City College of New York, Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture Program: Denise Hoffman Brandt, Alexa Helsell, Bronwyn Gropp

Levittown: Increasing Density and Opportunity through the Accessory Dwellings
Team: Ryall Porter Sheridan Architects: Meri Tepper, Ted Porter, Ted Sheridan, John Buckley Parsons The New School for Design: William R. Morrish

Long Division
Team: Network Architecture Lab, Columbia University: Kazys Varnelis, Leigha Dennis, Momo Araki, Alexis Burson, Kyle Hovenkotter; and Park: William Prince

SUBHUB Transit System
Team: DUB Studios: Michael Piper, Frank Ruchala, Natalya Kashper, Gabriel Sandoval, Jeff Geiringer

The winning student submission is:
Upcycling 2.0
Team: Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture and Planning and Preservation:  Ryan H. B. Lovett, John B. Simons, Patrick Cobb

The winning Long Island Index People’s Choice Award, selected by the public, goes to:
LIRR: Long Island Radically Rezoned.   Team: Tobias Holler, New York Institute of Technology; Ana Serra, Buro Happold; Sven Peters, Atelier Sven Peters; Katelyn Mulry, New York Institute of Technology

“The concepts represented in the winning projects reflect progressive design thinking for suburban centers and regions being explored in the fields of architecture and andscape architecture,” said Ms. Williamson. “This competition has been a tremendous opportunity to present these ideas to the public and to help citizens envision how their communities might be redesigned to address some of the key problems that the Long Island Index has been documenting.”

The winning designs, richly illustrated with plans, diagrams, renderings and videos can all be viewed at

Ms. Williamson also served as Jury Coordinator, and the winners were selected 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 Tachieva, partner at Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, Miami, and author of the 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

The jurors met on June 28th and selected the winners.  While the LI Index anticipated having a first prize and multiple other winners, the jurors felt that the winning submissions were all strong and rather than have a first, second and third place winner, they decided to honor the top designs equally.  Therefore, the $20,000 described in the LI Index brief, will be split among the top five designs; each will receive $4,000: The student prize is $2,500. The “People’s Choice Award” does not have a cash prize. Dr. Bruce Stillman, president and CEO, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, who discussed the importance of the ideas generated by the competition, pointed out that, “In science as in design, breakthroughs come from envisioning a solution in a new light and untried road.”  He went on to say, “This competition has brought together many innovative ideas that represent those new paths. Long Island has tremendous potential. Following through on any one of these winning ideas could have an incredible impact for the region.”

The public is invited to view the exhibitions in two museums:

The Long Island Museum–October 8th-October 24th
1200 Route 25A
Stony Brook, NY 11790

The Long Island Children’s Museum—October 5th-October 31st
11 Davis Avenue
Garden City, NY 11530 

About Build A Better Burb: “Build a Better Burb” is an ideas competition for retrofitting Long Island’s downtowns. The competition was open to anyone interested in shaping the future of Long Island; architects, urban designers, planners, students, and visionaries. Over 560 people contributed 212 submissions and a jury of distinguished professionals and academics selected the winners. The designs of BBB finalists can be downloaded at

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, Long Island Index 2008, Long Island Index 2009 and Long Island Index 2010 are all available for download

The Long Island Index interactive maps, an online resource with detailed demographic, residential, transportation and educational information, are also accessible from the Index’s website at

About Community Development Corporation of Long Island: CDC is a not-for-profit organization that supports Long Islanders pursing their housing and small business dreams. Since its inception 40 years ago, CDC invests its resources, talents and knowledge in households, small business and communities assisting more than 76,000 Long Islanders and investing $721 million into their communities. Last fiscal year alone, CDC served more than 14,300 Long Islanders investing nearly $56 million into their communities. For more information, please