Long Division is a project by the Network Architecture Lab (in collaboration with PARC Office) to re-envision the territory of Long Island for the twenty-first century. The project tied for first in the Long Island Index's Build a Better Burb competition
Sponsored by the Long Island Index, a project of the Rauch Foundation and curated by June Williamson, Build a Better Burb set out to identify solutions for making suburbs better, more sustainable places to live. The Long Division entry suggested that a regional planning strategy—together with local architectural interventions in the form of new hybrid building types—is essential.
On a regional level, we sought to preserve Long Island's aquifer—a vast resource under threat from an over-developed environment—by suggesting that a regional planning authority might selectively void areas in the eastern part of the island that sit on top of the aquifer, are underserved by infrastructure, and are populated by an aging population. Here we proposed the long term use of eminent domain, tax incentives, and other prods to encourage individuals to move into denser housing in town centers while the resulting voids would be turned over to boutique organic agricultural production compatible with the aquifer together with nature preserves and other aquifer-friendly uses.
In the already-dense western part of the island we propose to further densify city centers, deploying a set of new hybrid building types based on demographic needs and interests. We drew inspiration for these large structures from architect Victor Gruen's development of the shopping mall, a product of the suburbs and perhaps the last genuinely new building type but incorporated a variety of uses for varied populations. To intensify the density in these city centers, we introduced new parkland in less dense residential areas through strategic voiding of less desirable properties so as to allow these overbuilt suburbs to have breathing room.
Netlab members contributing to this project were Kazys Varnelis, Netlab Director; Leigha Dennis, Project Lead; Momo Araki, Alexis Burson, and Kyle Hovenkotter.
The project book for Long Division is available here.