ReBurbia Design Competition – ENTER IT!


Dwell Magazine and are pleased to announce the first ever Reburbia competition: a design competition dedicated to re-envisioning the suburbs.

With the current housing crisis, the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, and rising energy costs, the future of suburbia looks bleak. Suburban communities in central California, Arizona and Florida are desolate and decaying, with for sale and foreclosure signs dotting many lawns. According to the US Census, about 90% of all metropolitan growth occurred in suburban communities in the last ten years. Urbanites who loathe the freeways, big box stores and bland aesthetics stereotypical of suburbia may secretly root for the end of sprawl, but demographic trends indicate that exurban growth is still on the rise.

In a future where limited natural resources will force us to find better solutions for density and efficiency, what will become of the cul-de-sacs, cookie-cutter tract houses and generic strip malls that have long upheld the diffuse infrastructure of suburbia? How can we redirect these existing spaces to promote sustainability, walkability, and community? It’s a problem that demands a visionary design solution and we want you to create the vision!

Calling all future-forward architects, urban designers, renegade planners and imaginative engineers:
Show us how you would re-invent the suburbs! What would a McMansion become if it weren’t a single-family dwelling? How could a vacant big box store be retrofitted for agriculture? What sort of design solutions can you come up with to facilitate car-free mobility, ‘burb-grown food, and local, renewable energy generation? We want to see how you’d design future-proof spaces and systems using the suburban structures of the present, from small-scale retrofits to large-scale restoration—the wilder the better!



Enter the Inhabitat / Dwell REBURBIA competition, by sending up to 5 images and a statement about your design proposal. You can submit as many entries as you like, but each individual entry should be focused on one singular design problem/solution (i.e. a McMansion farm rehab, a bicycle transportation hub, a piezoelectric, energy-generating freeway paving system). Entries will be judged on clarity of idea, usefulness of design, and visual/aesthetic appeal of renderings.

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About Clara Fishel

I live in Savannah with my husband and two sons. My time is divided (albeit not always as evenly as I would prefer) between playing with family and friends, work and ongoing involvement with groups like Savannah USGBC, Starland Farmers' Mkt., SDRA and Step-Up. I am a LEED Accredited Professional with a B.S. in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis.

One thought on “ReBurbia Design Competition – ENTER IT!

  1. Doug Irvine

    Mass Transit Centric Zoning

    Land use is the most difficult thing to change but it alone solves the biggest problems associated with sprawl.

    Local government should encourage development with train stations at the center of town “districts”. Buildings closest to the station are attached and average four stories high. Shopping, residential and office space is intermingled. Streets are narrow and car free in the innermost center of town.

    Open plazas at intersections will draw people to meet and dine outside of local restaurants.

    Density can decrease moving outward to include some single family homes if desired. Strict town limits approximately .5 miles from the station are enforced to ensure residents can easily get around on foot or by bike.

    Modern building techniques (sound insulation, etc.) ensure people can live in close proximity peacefully. Lots of green space in the town and around its borders encourages healthy living.

    Car parking or sharing facilities at the town limits allow residents who must travel by car to do so.

    This new type of town would attract people who work in the city, parents who want a safe car-free environment for their kids, elderly people who don’t drive, and people who desire a lively city-like environment without living in a “big” city.

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