Thanks to Re-Burbia.com and their Suburban Design Competition, over 400 entries showed they were up to the challenge in reviving our suburbs. Hoping to start ideas that will affect the outcomes of these areas and fix the many problems with the suburbs, we here at Naturally Earth Friendly found our favorite in the 2nd place winner, Entrepreneubia: Rezoning Suburbia for Self-Sustaining Life. Instead of costly changes that will probably never take place, Urban Nature, F&S Design Studio and Silverlion Design decided to abolish the poorly written zoning laws that created the problems in the first place.
So you live in the suburbs and work in the city. How much gas and time are you wasting sitting in your car moving at less than 10 mph because of traffic? Then you are spending more time when you have to drive far away to get to the grocery store, banks, restaurants and everything else. Why can’t these be closer to home? The problem is the zoning. In most suburbs you cannot operate a business within a residential area, and vice versa.
Judge Jill Fehrenbacher, founder of Inhabitat, said, “The idea was one of the few entries in the Reburbia competition that wasn’t really a design proposal at all, but instead a policy proposal — and it was clearly the most practical, cost-effective and energy-efficient proposal submitted to us, and therefore the one which has the biggest potential to effect real change.”
Now you’re probably wondering what the benefits to such an idea are. Trust us there are many. Traveling such great distances daily, sometimes multiple times a day, is costing us money for gas, wear and tear on our vehicles, and the planet an enormous amount of pollution. If we had local markets, restaurants, and boutique shops within walking distances of our homes, within our own neighborhoods, it can help a great deal. Then there is the bonus of getting to know our neighbors on a regular basis, meeting Joe down the street at the local coffee shop, for example. Community solidarity and friendships are harder to create when you travel outside your neighborhood to shop for food or go see a movie.