Redesign the 'Burbs and Win


That's a quiet cul-de-sac. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Tweaks on the word "suburbia" scored hits for Rihanna and Shia LaBeouf. Now Dwell Magazine and Inhabitat are hoping their play on the word (with a different prefix, of course) will see similar success. The two design powerhouses are co-hosting "Reburbia," a competition to redesign dilapidated American suburbia.

In the wake of the housing crisis and suburban bulldozing (like that seen in Flint, Mich., and perhaps soon to be seen in 50 other U.S. cities), it's clear that the sprawling suburban environment needs retrofitting. So Dwell and Inhabitat are asking, "What will become of the cul-de-sacs, cookie-cutter tract houses and generic strip malls?" They're looking for architects, urban designers, planners and engineers to submit their ideas on how desolate swathes of foreclosed-on suburbs could be reoutfitted as sustainable, walkable communities. Could McMansions house more than one family? Could big-box stores take a pastoral turn toward agriculture?

The competition doesn't get much more specific than that, except that it does call for focused entries -- single solutions to single problems. Reburbia starts now, and contestants are allowed to submit as many entries as they like. The grand prize winner will be featured in the December Dwell and on Inhabitat. So if you're handy at design, dust off your squares and slides and start retooling the 'burbs.

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