LIRR: Long Island Radically Re-Zoned


Team Members
Tobias Holler, Katelyn Mulry, Sven Peters, Ana Serra

Juror Summary
An impressive island-wide reorganization of regional governance structure for a carbon-neutral future, comprised of a network of dense centers with agricultural and open space in between.

Key Themes
Transforming zoning, suburban agriculture, reducing greenhouse gases, retrofitting shopping centers, multi-unit housing


What if we draw on the metabolism of an island to provide a regenerative natural environment? What if we push innovation and create synergies between the various resource streams to arrive at systemic solutions? We then have a Living Island proposal, applying closed loop principles on a macro scale: water, energy and waste neutral and 100% local food production. In order to share resources efficiently the current administrative structure is eliminated in favor of a ‘proximity-to-mass-transit’ (LIRR) based structure: the Smart Cells – polygons which have infrastructure as the driver and a natural perimeter: a restorative connective fabric for habitat, recreation and agriculture, a 50/50 balance between nature and man-made.

To obtain the area needed we capitalize on the densification potential of the downtowns. Four strategies are applied to revitalize and repopulate these vacant and lifeless areas:

Fix-a-block: “wrap” blocks given over to surface parking with public program/ retail around existing buildings and over parking structures and add low-rise high density residential ‘carpet’ on top.

Re-center: create central public space at the train station, this new vibrant downtown center is an extension of the eco-boulevard and re-centers towns to give them a new identity where folded landscape of public space bridges from street level to elevated train tracks.

Mall Chopper: subdivide large underutilized surface parking around mall into small blocks that echo the small-scale grain of the surrounding context. Apply fix-a-block rules.

Resi-Dense: densify residential fabric by inserting additional units around existing single-family houses.