Designing Suburban Futures

Paperback - June 2013 - AU $48.99

Written as a response to the documented ecological, environmental, social and economic problems of the sprawling suburb.

Suburbs deserve a better, more resilient future. June Williamson shows that suburbs aren't destined to remain filled with strip malls and excess parking lots; they can be reinvigorated through inventive design. Drawing on award-winning design ideas for revitalizing Long Island, she offers valuable models not only for U.S. suburbs, but also those emerging elsewhere with global urbanization. + Full description

Williamson argues that suburbia has historically been a site of great experimentation and is currently primed for exciting changes. Today, dead malls, aging office parks, and blighted apartment complexes are being retrofitted into walkable, sustainable communities. Williamson shows how to expand this trend, highlighting promising design strategies and tactics.

She provides a broad vision of suburban reform based on the best schemes submitted in Long Island's highly successful "Build a Better Burb" competition. Many of the design ideas and plans operate at a regional scale, tackling systems such as transit, aquifer protection, and power generation. While some seek to fundamentally transform development patterns, others work with existing infrastructure to create mixed-use, shared networks.

Designing Suburban Futures offers concrete but visionary strategies to take the sprawl out of suburbia, creating a vibrant, new suburban form. It will be especially useful for urban designers, architects, landscape architects, land use planners, local policymakers and NGOs, citizen activists, students of urban design, planning, architecture, and landscape architecture.

- Short description


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Paperback | June 2013 | $ 48.99
ISBN: 9781597262415 | 160 pages
Publisher: Island Press, USA
Colour illustrations


Foreword, Ellen Dunham-Jones
Photo Essay, Christoph Gielen
Part I: Vision: A Role for Design in Suburban Resilience 1. Context for Change
2. Design Culture Responds to Sprawl: 1960s to 2010s
3. Better Suburban Futures
Part II: Exemplar: Building a Better Burb on Long Island 4. Build a Better Burb 2010: Instructions and Commentary
5. Winning and Noteworthy Competition Schemes
Sited in the Setback: Increasing Density in Levittown
Upcycling 2.0
Building C-Burbia
SUBHUB Transit System
Long Division
LIRR: Long Island Radically Rezoned
Fourteen Noteworthy Schemes
6. Conclusion
Epilogue: New Roles for Architecture and Urban Design
A conversation with Kazys Varnelis Selected Bibliography


June Williamson is Associate Professor in the Spitzer School of Architecture at The City College of New York and co-authored Retrofitting Suburbia with Ellen Dunham Jones.