Rebuild by Design

Aerial rendering of the “Big U” along the lower Manhattan coast. Image: Bjarke Ingels, courtesy of Rebuild by Design.

Flood-resilient recreation area. Image: Bjarke Ingels, courtesy of Rebuild by Design.

Rebuild by Design
Northeast USA

2013-2014 (Developed as part of Van Alen Institute employment)

After Hurricane Sandy impacted 13 states, costing more than $65 billion in damages and economic loss, President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force launched an innovative design competition, Rebuild by Design, that coupled innovation and global expertise with community insight to develop implementable solutions to the region’s most complex needs. 

In partnership with U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD)Municipal Art SocietyRegional Plan AssociationNYU’s Institute for Public KnowledgeThe Van Alen Institute, and support from The Rockefeller Foundation and other philanthropic partners, the multi-stage competition guided participants through in-depth research and cross-sector, cross-professional, collaborative design. Participants collaborated with community and local government stakeholders to ensure that each stage of the competition was based on the best knowledge and talent and final proposals would be realistic and replicable.

The Rebuild by Design Hurricane Sandy Design Competition changed the way the federal government responds to disaster and became the model now used in other regions to prepare communities for future uncertainties. Its success has also inspired other efforts. In 2014, President Obama launched the National Disaster Resilience Competition, which awarded $1 billion to 13 cities and states across the country to fund resilience-building projects. 

Internationally, The Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with USAID and The Swedish International Development Agency, developed the Global Partnership for Resilience based on the Rebuild by Design competition model and collaborative approach. The competition model’s success also led to the formation of the Rebuild by Design organization, which is helping cities and communities around the globe become more resilient through collaborative research and design.

Cultural Forecasting

  • – Intuitive assessments of cultural and institutional context
  • – Qualitative and quantitative research and context interpretation
  • – Future scenarios and impact assessment

Institutional and Program Strategies

  • – Vision and mission strategies from moonshots to incremental change
  • – Content and program ideas from concepts to implementation

Design Process Development

  • – Design brief development
  • – Selection process development
  • – Jury and Advisory Committee development
  • – Team structuring (from project managers to capital campaign consultants)
  • – Team liaison

Image: Bjarke Ingels, courtesy of Rebuild by Design.