"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Build a Better Burb

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.buildabetterburb.org

Build a Better Burb is an online publication dedicated to improving suburban design and planning. It uses engaging visuals to help suburban residents and leaders explore solutions from across the country that can be applied to their communities.

By showcasing innovative ideas and outstanding projects, the site seeks to inspire conversation about the importance of design and planning within suburban communities.

The articles on the site highlight bold ideas for improving housing, regional planning, parking and transit, and a sense of place within suburban downtowns and neighborhoods.

The Build a Better Burb website evolved from a design competition that was sponsored by the Long Island Index in 2010. The Build a Better Burb competition called for bold ideas from architects, urban designers, planners, and visionaries for the underutilized land in Long Island’s downtowns.

The goal was to reimagine what might be possible for our region. Seeing the scope of the problems facing Long Island, we realized that small tinkering at the edges wasn’t going to stop the brain drain or create vibrant town centers or convince businesses to locate here in order to reinvigorate our sagging economy.

We knew there was land to build on – 8,300 acres, in fact, within just ½ mile of our over 100 downtown communities. But where were the exciting ideas of what we might create there? For too long, there has been a crisis of imagination.

Bold new ideas are urgently needed. So in recruiting designers for the competition, we asked that they drop any preconceived notions about what was or was not possible.

We asked:

What would you do on these acres of opportunity? Build a car-free community? Plant an oasis of urban agriculture? Produce renewable energy and with it, provide well-paying green jobs? Use landscape systems to repair regional ecologies? Enhance public space and the civic realm?

The Build a Better Burb competition asked for innovative solutions at a variety of scales, from small-scale to regional. It sought both prototypical ideas as well as concepts tailored to particular downtowns. Photographs, renderings, plans, diagrams and other illustrations were requested to illustrate entrants’ ideas.

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