HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 14-031
Patrick Rodenbush
(202) 708-0685
For Release
April 3, 2014

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Rockefeller Foundation's Dr. Judith Rodin Will Showcase the Proposals at a Public Event Tonight

NEW YORK - After months of research and community engagement across the Sandy-affected region, 10 Rebuild by Design teams unveiled their final proposals Thursday at events at Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan and Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ. Members of the teams, along with hundreds of tri-state residents and government representatives, are gathering today to view the proposals. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and Rockefeller Foundation President Dr. Judith Rodin will address a public gathering of the design teams and residents of the region tonight at the World Financial Center.

Rebuild By Design teams have focused their efforts on proposals that will improve the resiliency of coastal communities affected by Hurricane Sandy that are still vulnerable to the unpredictable impacts of climate change and rising sea levels. HUD is expected to announce the winners of Rebuild By Design and an allocation of funds at the end of the month.

"This competition has resulted in forward-thinking, comprehensive proposals to make the region more environmentally and economically resilient," said Donovan. "Climate change is presenting unprecedented threats to communities across the country. Rebuild By Design is a model for how we can use public-private partnerships to spur innovation, protect our communities from the effects of climate change, and inspire action in cities across the world."

"The new reality in New York is we are getting hit by 100-year storms every couple of years," said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. "Superstorm Sandy was the latest example of a worsening trend in recent years towards highly destructive extreme weather. Along with our NY Rising Community Reconstruction program, Rebuild by Design is leading the way in the development of resiliency projects which are not just about brick and mortar, they create jobs, promote business and education, and ensure safety in waterfront communities."

"I want to thank HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan for his innovation in leading the Rebuild by Design competition," said Governor Chris Christie. "Sandy was the most sizeable storm to hit in 100 years, bringing billions of dollars in unprecedented destruction to New Jersey's communities, businesses, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources. Through the work of these talented RBD design teams, we have the opportunity to strengthen our communities in New Jersey and throughout the region to make them more resilient in the face of future storms."

"There's no question: Superstorm Sandy made clear just how vulnerable we are when it comes to climate change. The risks are real - and growing - and it's vital that we continue to innovate toward a stronger and more resilient New York," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. "We've gotten to work using SIRR as our roadmap, and Rebuild By Design has been a great partner as we identify and meet these challenges. I'm grateful to Secretary Donovan for his leadership, and I look forward to continuing to work together to protect our city and our region."

"Understanding what really is at stake and what happened during hurricane Sandy informs a path forward that can reconnect the social, the economy and the ecology," said Henk Ovink, Principal of Rebuild by Design, and Senior Advisor to Secretary Donovan. "Design can bridge these gaps and marry science and politics, the real world with imagination. Rebuild by Design is not about making a plan, but about changing a culture."

Launched in the summer of 2013, the Rebuild by Design competition has produced regional, cross-disciplinary collaboration between state and local governments, international design teams, educational institutions, and the public. The competition is one of the initiatives of President Obama's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. It has taken place in partnership with the Municipal Art Society, NYU's Institute for Public Knowledge, Regional Plan Association, and Van Alen Institute.

Lead funding for Rebuild by Design has come from the Rockefeller Foundation, with support from the JPB Foundation, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, the Hearst Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, and the New Jersey Recovery Fund.

"These resilience proposals are both visionary and pragmatic, and they represent the culmination of deep local research and community engagement," said Dr. Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. "The multidisciplinary nature of the teams has resulted in comprehensive solutions that will help protect communities from the physical and financial devastation caused by natural disaster and climate change. Philanthropy is committed to spurring innovation in resilience planning and catalyzing change in every sector: in local communities, in the planning and design professions, and in how critical public decision-making and investments are made."

"These remarkable results show very clearly the importance of developing solutions that build upon local knowledge and strengthen existing community assets," said Vin Cipolla, President of The Municipal Art Society of New York. "Rebuild By Design has challenged all of us, working in every sector across the City and region and in the federal government, to first think and now plan, design and act together in tangible ways that boost both the livability and resilience of our communities. There is no quick fix: This is the new normal and MAS will continue to advocate for comprehensive, integrated approaches such as the RBD process has produced."

"The proposals delivered by the Rebuild by Design teams demonstrate the importance of enabling professionals and community leaders to work together to solve problems" said Robert Yaro, President of Regional Plan Association. "The plans and partnerships created as a result will help the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region prepare for a changing climate."

"Rebuild by Design has become a future-oriented project of historic proportions; seeding, designing, and building a resilience network that now may serve as a cross-disciplinary, collaborative model for coastal regions around the world," said David van der Leer, Executive Director of Van Alen Institute.

In addition to the remarks by Secretary Donovan and Dr. Rodin this evening, the New Jersey event features a panel discussion on innovation and implementation. The panel includes Henk Ovink, Rebuild by Design Principal and a senior advisor to Sec. Donovan; Holly Leicht, HUD Regional Administrator for Region II; Marc Ferzan, the New Jersey Director of Hurricane Sandy Recovery Efforts; Chris Daggett, the President & CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; and Dr. Mindy Fullilove, Professor of Clinical of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

The final 10 design teams involved in Thursday's events were chosen from nearly 150 international submissions. Each of the 10 teams has worked closely with local and regional stakeholders to develop locally-responsive projects and design approaches to improve the resiliency of waterfront communities. The resulting design innovations include growing breakwaters, the development of absorptive shorelines, off-shore islands, and regional tidal parks. Several proposals incorporate coastal development with both ecological and financial resiliency and retrofitting plans aimed at protecting not only exposed environment but also businesses and communities vulnerable to extreme weather.

Details on each of the 10 final proposals can be found at

Photos of the designs can be found at


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Content Archived: January 1, 2016