re-burbia.com: reimagining the suburbs

An announcement from a JG Ballard mailing list, forwarded by Paul A. Green:

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
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!

The 20 finalists are now on show and open to public voting -
- sadly, none demonstrate great Ballardian insight. But the suburban
airships are cool.

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