Inspiration is everywhere – looking at what’s possible.


Build a Better Burb, the hub for great suburban design, is an online publication dedicated to improving suburban design and planning. It evolved from a design competition that was sponsored by the Long Island Index in 2010. The Build a Better Burb competition called for bold ideas from architects, urban designers, planners, and visionaries for the underutilized land in Long Island’s downtowns. The goal was to reimagine what might be possible for the region.

The results of the competition inspired the idea of an ongoing vehicle that could present and provoke discussion of innovative ideas for suburban design. The Long Island Index, therefore, created and initially operated Build a Better Burb, the online publication. An example of the publication’s capacity to explore and present creative ideas is evident in its ParkingPLUS Design Competition, which revealed new concepts for parking design to better use the more than 4,000 acres of surface parking lots in and around Long Island’s downtowns.

The Long Island Index operated the online publication until 2015, when responsibility for curating it was transferred, along with initial Foundation funding, to the Congress for the New Urbanism, an international nonprofit organization working to build vibrant communities where people have diverse choices for how they live, work, and get around.

Through articles and insights, the publication helps suburban residents, developers, and officials explore solutions that can be applied to their communities. It showcases innovative ideas and practical tips for outstanding projects, seeking to inspire conversation about the importance of design and planning within suburban communities. It highlights bold ideas for improving housing, promoting regional planning, addressing parking, and creating transit-oriented development. Above all, it focuses on what it takes to create a sense of place within suburban downtowns and neighborhoods.