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Secretary Donovan Launches Regional Design Competition To Promote Resilience For The Sandy-Affected Region

WASHINGTON—In an effort to promote resilience for the Sandy-affected region, U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, who also chairs the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, today launched REBUILD BY DESIGN, a multi-stage regional design competition. The goal of the competition is to attract world-class talent, promote innovation and develop projects that will actually be built. Once the best ideas are identified, HUD will incentivize their implementation using funds made available through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program as well as other public and private funds. Examples of design solutions are expected to range in scope and scale—from large-scale green infrastructure to small-scale residential resiliency retrofits.

The Rockefeller Foundation is the lead funding partner for REBUILD BY DESIGN and will provide support for the analysis and design process. HUD and The Rockefeller Foundation have coordinated closely following several catastrophic events including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and especially Sandy. The Rockefeller Foundation’s support of the REBUILD BY DESIGN competition builds upon their strong commitment to promoting urban resilience through a $100 million investment, which includes their recent announcement of the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) serves as a special partner, providing critical expertise and guidance to shape and launch REBUILD BY DESIGN. NEA’s experience investing in and facilitating place-based work through the Our Town and Mayor’s Institute on City Design initiatives, as well as NEA’s history with supporting and facilitating design competitions, will help ensure the success of REBUILD BY DESIGN.

“The competition process will deliver a better understanding of regional interdependencies and foster regional coordination and resilience across the United States,” said Donovan. “Natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy do not respect state or local borders, and we too must know no boundaries—both literally and figuratively—as we think about our plans for the future.”

“As globalization, urbanization, and climate change converge, shocks such as Hurricane Sandy will only increase in frequency, scale and impact,” said Judith Rodin, president, The Rockefeller Foundation.  “As a result, we must come together to design around these problems to build greater resilience within our cities.  REBUILD BY DESIGN gives us the dynamic opportunity to uncover the innovative collaboration and connections that will allow us to strengthen our resilience as a city, a region, and a nation.”

“The public sector is too often locked into being reactive to crises,” said NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa.  “With REBUILD BY DESIGN, Secretary Donovan and HUD are providing vital and forward looking leadership by inviting the nation’s best design thinking and analysis to inform public investment.”

REBUILD BY DESIGN will center on four focus areas: coastal communities, high-density urban environments, ecological networks and a fourth category that will include other innovative questions and proposals.

The competition will have a region-wide focus to help provide solutions to problems that are larger or more complex than individual towns have the capacity to solve themselves. The regional focus will also help provide a better understanding of the many interconnected systems (infrastructure, ecological, climate, economic and others) in the Sandy-affected region. Design teams will start with regional analyses to understand major vulnerabilities and then, through the collaborative design process begin to focus on local implementation and key projects for improving the region’s resilience.

Brendan C. Gilfillan, Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force,

REBUILD BY DESIGN will have four stages:

Stage 1: Call for concept proposals and selection of 5-10 teams

June 2013 – July 2013

Attract and form 5-10 teams with world-class expertise in infrastructure engineering, landscape design, urban design, architecture, land use planning, industrial design, communication, and other fields.

Stage 2: Analysis of the region through collaborative process

August 2013 – October 2013

The teams will interact with a wide-range of stakeholders to develop a comprehensive understanding of the region, its interdependencies, key players, and areas that warrant integrated design thinking and solutions.

Stage 3: Development of design solutions and selection of key projects

November 2013 – February 2014

Teams will submit their designs in the beginning of February. A jury will select the winners.

Stage 4: Implementation of winning designs and projects

Will commence March 2014

Winning design solutions, having been developed in close collaboration with government and stakeholders, will be implemented using public and private funds.