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Oct 04 2010

NYIT Team Wins People’s Choice Award in Global “Build a Better Burb” Ideas Competition

NYIT Team: Katelyn Mulry, Ana Serra, Sven Peters, Tobias Holler

Old Westbury, N.Y. (Oct. 4, 2010) – One professor, one student, and one alumna from New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) are the People’s Choice winners of the “Build a Better Burb” Ideas Competition for Retrofitting Long Island’s Downtowns, a global design competition sponsored by the Long Island Index.

The winners were announced today at a press conference at the Crest Hollow Country Club. As selected by the public, “LIRR: Long Island Radically Rezoned,” was designed by Tobias Holler, assistant professor of architecture at NYIT; fourth-year NYIT architecture student Katelyn Mulry; NYIT alumna Ana Serra (B. Arch. '96), associate sustainability consultant for engineering firm Buro Happold; and Sven Peters, principal of Atelier Sven Peters.

Other winners were chosen by a distinguished panel of judges from 23 finalists selected from 212 entries received from more than 30 countries around the world. The competition invited architects, urban designers, planners, students, and visionaries to submit bold design ideas for 83,000 unused acres in one or more of 156 Long Island downtown and train-adjacent areas, while addressing island-wide challenges.

“LIRR: Long Island Radically Rezoned” calls for a self-sufficient and regenerative island, with a balance between nature and the manmade environment. It is designed for land to be developed partially as green space and partially as high-density, mixed use downtown areas located around Long Island Rail Road stations. These downtown areas would include stores, offices, and housing built upward in areas where parking lots currently exist. The team also proposes energy from wind turbines located off the coast of Long Island, food grown under domes, rainwater harvesting, and a waste recycling process.

“Sustainability is a common thread in each of our personal and professional lives,” said Holler. “Once we started the competition, we immediately realized that there were many problems that are interconnected and need to be solved simultaneously, and it was not sufficient to just address the mass transit problem, or the energy problem, or the food miles problem. The most interesting aspect of this exercise was finding synergies that allowed us to have a holistic strategy in order to put Long Island on a path toward self sufficiency and provide a better life for residents and visitors.”

"It was amazing for me to experience how teamwork can really push a project," said Mulry. "When the fit is right, the combination is above and beyond the individual strength of each team member. I am fortunate to be part of this team of dedicated designers. I learned so much from this competition.

About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in more than 90 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has more than 15,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, 85,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit


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