HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 14-063
Patrick Rodenbush
(202) 708-0685
For Release
June 2, 2014

New York, New York City, and New Jersey Will Receive Funds To Begin Implementation of Six Proposals

WASHINGTON, D.C.– U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced today that six design proposals have been selected as winners of HUD' Rebuild by Design ( competition. Secretary Donovan was joined by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator Charles Schumer, and Mayor Bill de Blasio in New York City at the Jacob Riis Houses on the Lower East Side to announce winning proposals that will benefit New York and New York City. The Riis Houses and surrounding area experienced severe flooding during Hurricane Sandy and will benefit from a winning proposal. At a second event, Secretary Donovan was joined by Governor Chris Christie and Mayor Mauro Raguseo in Little Ferry, NJ. The town was hit by an eight foot surge of water during Hurricane Sandy and will benefit from a winning proposal.

HUD is allocating approximately $920 millionto New York, New Jersey, and New York City to begin implementation of the winning projects that will make the region more environmentally and economically resilient. This funding was included in HUD' most recent allocation of approximately $2.5 billion in Community Development Block Grants- Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) for the Sandy region.

The winning proposals come from six interdisciplinary teams representing some of the best planning, design, and engineering talent in the world. These inventive proposals are a blueprint for how communities can maximize resilience as they rebuild and recover from major disasters. HUD chose the winners for their excellence in design and resilience and their engagement with local communities. These ideas will serve as a model for how we can mitigage the effects of climate change and natural disasters in communities throughout the Sandy region, the United States, and the world.

The six teams with winning proposals are:

  • The BIG Team - The BIG U (East River Park) - Manhattan
  • The Interboro Team - Living with the Bay (Slow Streams) - Nassau County, Long Island
  • MIT CAU+ZUS+URBANISTEN - New Meadowlands - Little Ferry, Moonachie, Carlstadt, Teterboro
  • OMA - Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge - Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City
  • PennDesign/OLIN - Lifelines - Hunts Point, South Bronx
  • SCAPE/Landscape Architecture - Living Breakwaters -Tottenville, Staten Island

The $920 million is being awarded to New Jersey, New York, and New York City to assist with implementation of winning proposals in these areas:



Proposal Design Team


New Jersey



      $150 M

New Jersey

Lower Hudson


      $230 M

New York

Nassau County

The Interboro Team

      $125 M

New York

Staten Island

SCAPE/Landscape Architecture

        $60 M

New York City


The BIG Team

      $335 M

New York City

South Bronx


        $20 M

The following teams were among the ten finalists.

  • HR&A Advisors with Cooper, Robertson, & Partners
  • Sasaki/Rutgers/ARUP
  • WB/unabridged with Yale/ARCADIS
  • WXY/WEST 8

Rebuild by Design was created in the summer of 2013 by President Obama' Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force as a way to develop ideas capable of dramatically improving the physical, ecological, and economic resilience of coastal areas. The competition has produced regional, cross-disciplinary collaboration between state and local governments, the ten design teams, regional nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and the public. The Rockefeller Foundation has been the lead financial supporter of the competition. Teams worked to create coalitions with local and regional stakeholders to develop locally-responsive proposals to improve the resilience of waterfront communities.

"The winning proposals are truly transformative and serve as blueprints for how we can safeguard the region and make it more environmentally and economically resilient," said Secretary Shaun Donovan. "It' my hope that Rebuild by Design will inspire other public-private partnerships to spur innovation and resilience in other parts of the country and around the world. By investing in these proposals, we are going to ensure that when the next storm comes, the region will be safer and better prepared."

Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "Building stronger and more robust infrastructure is essential to preparing for the new reality of extreme weather, and with the support of our federal partners New York is becoming a national leader in storm resiliency. From implementing storm mitigation measures along the southern shore of Nassau County to fortifying the Hunts Point section of New York City, this funding will go a long way toward protecting New Yorkers and their communities. HUD continues to be a tremendous supporter of New York' infrastructure needs, and I am pleased to be working with them to build back stronger, safer, and better than ever before."

"Are there going to be other storms like Sandy? Yes. Will we be better prepared for them because of Rebuild by Design? Absolutely. These four New York projects use the best science we know of to protect against future storms, all while fitting into the character of the neighborhoods and improving their quality of life," said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. "All due credit for this program goes to Secretary Donovan and his Rebuild by Design Team for their efforts to push forward smarter resiliency that will be effective and last."

Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "Countless New Yorkers found themselves without power, heat, or running water after Sandy hit. With a changing climate, we know it's not a question of if, but when the next big storm will hit- and that's why we have a comprehensive plan to adapt our city's infrastructure and neighborhoods. The Rebuild by Design projects announced today are a part of that plan and will help ensure that we're better prepared for the risks of the future. Thank you to HUD and Secretary Donovan, Senator Schumer, Governor Cuomo, and the Rockefeller Foundation, and congratulations to the winning teams. Now, let's get to work."

"There is no doubt that climate change is real and that it is here," said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. "As we learn the lessons of Superstorm Sandy, these bold, inventive projects will bring together some of the brightest minds and best ideas to help develop a storm-resilient strategy and ensure that communities throughout New York are armed with innovative practices to protect against future disasters."

"The Rockefeller Foundation is keenly focused on the global priority of building greater resilience," said Dr. Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. "There are no simple solutions, but we do have the best minds in the world figuring how to do things better and smarter. The Rockefeller Foundation funded the Rebuild by Design competition to create a space for talents of every stripe to break the models and construct innovative and creative ways to build for our future. The winning proposals will be beneficial to all of us in both directly improving Sandy-impacted communities, but also by providing models around which successes can be replicated."

"Rebuild by Design' process took ten interdisciplinary design teams on an in-depth journey through the region, working with and within the communities, discovering the region' vulnerabilities and interdependencies to focus on the opportunities for a new standard of resilience," said Henk Ovink, Principal of Rebuild by Design, Dutch Government Liaison to Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task force and Senior Advisor to Secretary Donovan. "Through this collaborative design process, the teams delivered innovative solutions that bridge the gap between social and physical vulnerabilities. I am so proud of these teams, the communities and their partners for giving the region a new way forward. They showed that this is not about making a plan, Rebuild by Design is about changing a culture."

The Rebuild by Design competition is a partnership between government, philanthropy, and nonprofit organizations. Lead funding for the effort 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. The competition was administered in partnership with the Municipal Art Society, NYU' Institute for Public Knowledge, Regional Plan Association, and Van Alen Institute.

Winning Proposals

The BIG Team - The BIG U (East River Park) - Manhattan

The BIG proposal presents a protective system around Manhattan' edge, driven by the needs and concerns of the community. Building on the New York City Special Initiative for Recovery and Rebuilding (SIRR) report, the BIG Team married infrastructure investments with a community approach.

The overall proposal protects ten continuous miles of low-lying geography that comprise an incredibly dense, vibrant, and vulnerable urban area. The proposed system not only shields the city against floods and stormwater, it also creates and provides social and environmental benefits to the community through an improved public realm.

CDBG-DR funds will be used to implement the first phase of the proposal along the Lower East Side, creating a ‘bridging berm’ at the East River Park. The bridging berm provides robust vertical protection for the Lower East Side from future storm surge and rising sea levels. The berm also offers pleasant, accessible routes into the park, with many unprogrammed spots for resting, socializing, and enjoying views of the park and river. Both the berms and bridges will be wide and planted with a diverse selection of salt tolerant trees, shrubs, and perennials to create a resilient urban habitat.

OMA - Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge - Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City

The comprehensive urban water strategy developed by the OMA Team provides protection along all of the Hoboken waterfront and parts of Weehawken and Jersey City. It deploys programmed hard infrastructure and soft landscape for coastal defense (resist); policy recommendations, guidelines, and urban infrastructure to slow rainwater runoff (delay); a circuit of interconnected green infrastructure to store and direct excess rainwater (store); and water pumps and alternative routes to support drainage (discharge). The objectives are to manage water for both severe storms and long-term growth; enable reasonable flood insurance premiums through the potential redrawing of the FEMA flood zone following completion; and deliver co-benefits that enhance the cities and the region.

Jersey City, Hoboken and Weehawken are susceptible to both flash flooding and storm surge. CDBG-DR funds will support the first phase of the proposal that provides a comprehensive approach for Hoboken that recognizes the density and complexity of the urban area, brings together a diverse community of beneficiaries, and defends the entire city, its assets, and citizens.

HUD funding for this project is intended to incentivize additional public and private investment by reducing risk and driving down insurance premiums. this investment provides a unique opportunity to create a new form of public-private financing mechanism that is locally-driven but participated in by multiple levels of government as well as investors and property owners. Such a "Flood Development Corporation" or "Resilience District" model would create real financial savings for a variety of stakeholders as a result of infrastructure improvements and other resilience measures.

The Interboro Team - Living With the Bay (Slow Streams) - Nassau County, Long Island

The Interboro teams proposal presents a comprehensive, regional resiliency plan for Nassau County' South Shore. The plan consists of a variety of elements which provide a range of integrated adaptive measures that keep Nassau County residents safe, while adding to the economic, ecological, and social quality of the region.

CDBG-DR funds will implement the "Slow Streams" element of the proposal. The areas around Southern Nassau' north-south tributaries are threatened both by surge water flooding and storm water inundation. The proposal will address these threatsthrough a set of interconnected interventions, transforming the Mill River into a green-blue corridor that stores and filters water, provides public space, and creates room for new urban development. These river corridor improvements will also address other challenges such water quality, ecological recovery, and aquifer recharge.

MIT CAU+ZUS+URBANISTEN - New Meadowlands - Little Ferry, Moonachie, Carlstadt, Teterboro

The New Meadowlands project articulates an integrated vision for protecting, connecting, and growing this critical asset to both New Jersey and the metropolitan area of New York. The first phase of their proposal focuses on Little Ferry, Moonachie, Carlstadt, and Teterboro. By integrating transportation, ecology, and development, the project transforms the Meadowlands basin to address a wide spectrum of risks, while providing civic amenities, and creating opportunities for new redevelopment.

CDBG-DR funds will be used for the first phase pilot area to restore water-absorbing wetland and reduce flooding in Sandy-impacted communities. The project includes the creation of additional wetlands and a multi-purpose berm that will provide flood protection to the many residents of the community damaged by Sandy flooding.

SCAPE/Landscape Architecture - Living Breakwaters - Tottenville, Staten Island

Funding for the Scape proposal is to build out the entire Tottenville section of the Living Breakwaters project which will reduce risk, revive ecologies, and connect educators and local students to the shoreline, inspiring a new generation of harbor stewards and a more resilient region over time. The in-water solution will reduce wave action and erosion, lowering risk from heavy storms by designing "reef street" micropockets of habitat complexity to host finfish, shellfish, and lobsters. The proposal examines how and where it can most effectively protect communities. This living infrastructure will be paired with social resiliency frameworks in adjacent neighborhoods. Through the Billion Oyster Project and an associated network of programmed water hubs, local schools will be empowered with science, recreation, education, and access to the water.

PennDesign/OLIN - Lifelines, Hunts Point, South Bronx

Hunts Point is the hub of the region' food supply chain and a local living-wage employment center in the poorest Congressional district in the country. The PennDesign/OLIN proposal sets out four strategies: Integrated and Adaptable Flood Protection systems to safeguard the whole neighborhood and create public amenities along the Hunts Point waterfront; Leadership efforts to build capacity for social resilience; a Marine Emergency Supply Chain to enhance the waterways as critical infrastructure; and Cleanways to improve air quality.

CDGB-DR funds for this proposal are not for full implementation, but for continued robust planning and study related to the future of the food market and a small pilot/demonstration project (to be selected/identified by the City). This will enable the process to continue and incorporate whatever investments the private sector and the City commit toward improvements and implementation in the future.

The following projects are Finalists:

WB/unabridged with Yale/ARCADIS - Resilient Bridgeport - Bridgeport, CT

This proposal provides a set of integrated coastal, urban, and riparian design strategies and planning principles. CDBG-DR funds ($10 million) will be dedicated to focus on flood protection in the South End/Blackrock Harbor area, with a particular emphasis on protection of public housing (Marina Village and Seaside Village).

HR&A Advisors, Inc. with Cooper, Robertson, & Partners - Commercial Corridor Resiliency - The Rockaways & Red Hook (NYC), Asbury Park, NJ

This proposal provides design solutions for increasing the resilience of commercial corridors in New York and New Jersey waterfront communities. Opportunities exist for adapting these solutions into a series of design tools/approaches for merchants, retail property owners, and business improvement districts. When combined with the innovative financing tools articulated in the proposal, these can become a critical resource provided by state and local business assistance programs.

Sasaki/Arup/Rutgers - Resilience + The Beach - Union Beach/Keansburg, Asbury Park, Berkeley Township/Tom's River

This proposal puts forward a comprehensive resilience strategy for various types of Jersey Shore communities: Inland Bay, Headlands, and Barrier Island. Opportunities exist for continued focus on examining alternatives for expanding eco-tourism in the Barnegat Bay region that will help reduce economic dependency on barrier island economies.

WXY/WEST 8 Proposal - Blue Dunes - Offshore Islands, NY Harbor

This proposal examines the feasibility of developing offshore constructed islands as living habitat, providing flood protection for the entire New York Harbor. Opportunities exist for continued partnership with philanthropy to continue studying the technical feasibility of this approach along with related hydrologic modeling.


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Content Archived: January 1, 2016