Long Island has succumbed to automobile/sprawl infrastructure, its pastoral landscape reduced to an endless horizon of strip centers – choking on congestion, losing its businesses and its residents, and looking ahead to higher costs and more time spent in traffic. What can this great suburb do to stimulate new growth, reduce congestion, create new open space and new energy sources, and build new communities where we can maintain balance between our economic, social, and environmental needs?
AgIsland represents one approach to a fundamentally sustainable future, offering increased development opportunity and economic growth in a manner that increases jobs, reduces automobile dependency, and reduces fossil fuel consumption. Building upon Long Island’s historic relationship to farming and open space, this design decreases automobile dependence, increases alternative energy resources and usage, and creates a new economy and a connection to the land and to each other. We selected the community of Farmingdale, along Route 110. Symbolic as a farm town replaced by millions of square feet of office parks, massive malls, strip centers, and a few isolated residential developments, Farmingdale is a poster child for Long Island sprawl development.
Combining Sustainable Farming with Transit-oriented Development
Long Island has succumbed to automobile/sprawl infrastructure, its pastoral landscape reduced to an endless horizon of strip centers. The region is choked by congestion and losing its businesses. Its residents’ future is one of higher costs and more time spent in traffic. What can this great suburb do to stimulate new growth, reduce congestion, create new open space and new energy sources, and build new communities that balance economic social and environmental needs?
Concentrated development at Republic Airport provides a dense, pedestrian-oriented town center capable of holding 9 million square feet of office space combined with extensive new retail and residential living opportunities. The community will be serviced by a new light rail line along Route 110 that captures all three branches of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), making this site accessible to anywhere the LIRR extends. A new pedestrian street defines the center of this new community for living, working, and playing.
AgIsland – Putting the “Farm” Back in Farmingdale
By concentrating growth into the transit-oriented development (TOD), more than 4,000 acres of former offices and parking fields can be freed up. We propose to use this land for local sustainable farming. Soils will be made from agricultural waste and solid waste from the TOD area. The produce grown will be transferred to local processing facilities and distributed locally through a circulator system that transports everything from waste to finished products through the TOD, to processing facilities and farms and out to the LIRR to connect to the region. Local farming will produce jobs, reduce costs for production and delivery of produce, and provide a local and sustainable product for Long Island.
The AgTrain is a conveyance system connecting farms, processing centers, distribution points, AgVille, the University, and the Energy Plant. It conveys food, fertilizer, waste, goods, and supplies throughout AgIsland, to local destinations and the region (via LIRR). The AgTrain replaces trucks and eliminates the need to remove and landfill community-generated waste.
AgIsland connects food to waste to energy in a closed loop, sharing the outputs of each component to mutual advantage. This helps create a community independent of fossil fuels, independent of automobiles, and connected to healthy organic food, open space, and the varied lifestyle choices that attract people to urban destinations. This restructuring of resources results in:
- Electricity for 5,000 households generated from waste
- 46,000 tons of garbage diverted from landfills annually
- Replaces the need for 4,000 gallons of fuel oil a day
- Preserves 1,400 acres of new agricultural space
- 7,500 tons of organic crops grown annually (enough to feed 5,600 people)
- Upwards of 20,000 daily auto trips diverted