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Vote for ASU urban planners in NYC competition


July 21, 2010

Sungduck Lee, doctoral student in environmental planning and design, and Emily Talen, professor from the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, have been named official finalists of the "Build A Better Burb" competition, which challenges designers to creatively retrofit, redevelop or rehabilitate Long Island’s existing downtown areas.

The proposal by Lee and Talen, titled "The Living Market" was selected as one of 23 finalists out of 212 submissions.

The Living Market is a project that would create mixed-used market areas within Long Island’s downtown, making it possible for low- and middle-income families to own a house and shop property in community corridors. The outcome? Communities would immediately benefit from having a local microeconomic system, markets within walking distance, vibrant recreation areas tied to markets, and home-based businesses would have the right volume of customers to support their operations.

Lee and Talen believe their approach has greater potential for community building than an absolute infrastructure redesign.

“It's difficult to get the funding aligned for major innovative infrastructure projects," Talen said. "But also, we believe that real change is possible, and possibly more lasting and resilient, if it is from the ground up, generated incrementally. We don't want our marketplace to be a tourist destination. We want it to be ‘living’ where people who work the markets – whether via cottage industry, family-run business, or produce from local gardens – actually live there, in affordable housing.”

The Living Market would not just create rows of shopping/housing structures, but also provide residents with community gardens and easy access to Long Island’s railroad system.

Lee and Talen believe a mixed-use approach is the only sustainable direction for urban development worldwide.
“Building cities where users are far-flung and therefore the whole urban pattern is dependent on car transport is very unsustainable – socially, economically, environmentally,” Talen said. “Phoenix is making some strides toward rectifying this problem. [Valley Metro Rail] is a big step in the right direction. Long Island is blessed with having a well-developed rail transport system, so our project capitalizes on that.”

In order to win the Long Island Index People’s Choice Award, the ASU team must collect the greatest number of online votes before the Aug. 31 deadline. Voting is simple and does not require registration, as the website will simply log a vote per IP address.

To support "The Living Market" project visit buildabetterburb.org.