TOO BIG. Rebuild by Design: A Transformative Approach to Climate Change

> A guide that calls for action

>  "(...) a blueprint for the future, a tribute to what can be accomplished when people work together, and an inspiration for anyone who hopes to build a better world for themselves and their children.” - Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone editor and author of ‘The Water Will Come’

"Rebuild by Design is not about making a plan, but about changing a culture."
-Henk Ovink

How will society confront climate change? Faced with rising sea levels and more powerful storms, we all know that what worked in the past will not work in the future. The climate challenge is too urgent to ignore and too big to confront with our existing methods.

Too Big tells the inside story of the American federal response in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The late 2012 storm that ravaged the New York-New Jersey region revealed the true physical and social vulnerabilities that all coastal cities face from sea level rise and extreme weather events. It underscored the need for fundamentally different approaches to create more resilient cities and coastlines. President Obama took on this challenge through an innovative, inclusive design process called Rebuild by Design: confronting established federal, state and local practices, championed by Henk Ovink, the Dutch Special Envoy for International Water Affairs who joined the American recovery effort.

In this book, Ovink and Boeijenga, together with Rebuild by Design’s key partners, give a firsthand account of this process: building coalitions and creating innovative solutions by running an intense international design effort in the aftermath of a devastating storm. Analyzing the competition’s groundbreaking formula for bringing all stakeholders to the heart of resilience planning, Too Big presents governments and communities an approach to become more responsive, more effective and more prepared in the face of climate change.

Too Big addresses the urgency of a battle we cannot afford to lose, but also shows a way forward, informing and inspiring everyone who has the ambition to change the world.

MIT CAU, ZUS and De Urbanisten Team / Rebuild by Design

"Understanding what really is at stake informs a path forward that can reconnect the social, the economy, and the ecology. 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." -  Henk Ovink

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About the authors

Henk Ovink is the first special envoy for international water affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. He is also sherpa to the UN / World Bank High Level Panel on Water. He served on President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and was principal for Rebuild by Design. Before joining the task force Henk Ovink was acting director general for Spatial Planning and Water Affairs and director National Spatial Planning for the Netherlands. He was curator for the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2012 ‘Making City’ and chief editor for the publication series ‘Design and Politics’. Henk Ovink teaches and lectures all over the world on water, climate change, design and politics and the urgency and opportunity to act, now.

Jelte Boeijenga is a Rotterdam based, independent researcher, consultant, author and editor. He authored and edited various publications, including the Vinex Atlas (2008), Landscape Architecture and Town Planning in the Netherlands 2010 and Design and Politics: The Netherlands in Projects (2013). Boeijenga consults on local, regional and national spatial planning issues, where he focuses on the interaction between design, policy and politics. From 2013 to 2017 Jelte Boeijenga volunteered on the board of the local Rotterdam energy cooperative Blijstroom, and s