Green Hero of the Week: ReBurbia and The Crazy Dream of McMansions Turned into Biofilter Water Treatment Plants

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08/20/2009 8:23 AM |


The design mags Dwell and Inhabit just announced the winners of their ReBurbia competition, in which participants were invited to “redesign the suburbs” by submitting proposals for innovative, sustainable solutions to the landscape of sprawl (ie Atlanta). You can see all the entries on the website; many are bizarrely fanciful, some tantalizingly plausible, and most are apparently rendered via the same futuristic computer-imaging technologies pioneered in the music video for the song “Money for Nothing,” by Dire Straits.

Many of the notable entries and finalists dealt with abandoned big-box stores; my personal favorite, which came in third, is a fairly straightforward plan to tear the roof off those suckers and turn the interior into a greenhouse and renewable energy generator, with a farm in the parking lot. This is appealingly close to some things that are actually being done currently with empty big-boxes — well, when they’re not being converted to mega-churches — and seems at least as feasible and elegant as the winner (pictured), a plan to give over McMansions to wild growth, flooding them, and using them as water treatment plants.