As the world faces rising populations, mass migration, climate change, social injustices, and economic challenges, communities can’t afford to wait until after the next crisis to plan for the future. Through regional competitions, local engagements, research and policy, Rebuild by Design is reimagining the way communities find solutions for today’s large-scale, complex problems by creating collaborations across communities and governments.

Rebuild convenes global expertise, with regional leadership, and community stakeholders to gain a better understanding of how overlapping environmental and human-made vulnerabilities leave communities at risk.

Rebuild’s core belief is that through collaboration our communities can grow stronger and better prepared to stand up to whatever challenges tomorrow brings.

Rebuild by Design is at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. Contact us at info@rebuildbydesign.org


REGIONAL COLLABORATIONS: Rebuild by Design has implemented two large scale regional design competitions to address resilience challenges, resulting in more than $3.6 billion of investments.  Read about our regional competitions here.

PLACE BASED INITIATIVES: Rebuild by Design works with localities to create true partnerships between local governments, communities, and diverse stakeholders. Through a collaborative process, Rebuild’s initiatives address site-specific, community-wide, or policy challenges. Read about our work with communities around the world here.

RESEARCH AND POLICY: Rebuild by Design researches and develops policies to create a better understanding of a challenge, and to catalyze local and regional investments in climate adaptation. Read about our research and policy work here.

EDUCATION: Rebuild engages academics and climate resilience practitioners from multiple disciplines through its Resilient by Design University (RBD_U) program. Read about our educational initiatives here.


SPURRED over $4.3 Billion in investments in large-scale infrastructure that address storm surge and increase social resilience –projects born in the Hurricane Sandy Design Competition

COLLABORATED with over a dozen localities on issues of climate adaptation, rethinking public space, enhancing our communities with green infrastructure, effective engagement, affordable housing solutions, and pandemic recovery.

CREATED the research and strategy to convince New York State to create the $4 Billion Environmental Bond Act

CONVENED hundreds of students, practitioners and professors together though our Resilience by Design University in New York; the Bay Area; and Amman, Jordan

HOSTED dozens of highly attended public events that brought together community members and experts from around the world to discuss solutions to climate challenges at multiple scale


Our Method

Rebuild by Design uses collaborative, design-driven problem-solving to help communities and cities build resilience. Communities can overcome existing creative and regulatory barriers by cultivating collaboration between designers, researchers, community members, government officials and subject-matter experts. This collaboration remains at the heart of an iterative creative process to address the intersection of physical, social, and ecological resilience to drive lasting change. Rebuild begins by analyzing which individuals and organizations have the best expertise and pairs them with those who best understand the affected community’s challenges to develop projects that make regions stronger, more resilient places to live.


Collaborative Research

Once project experts have been identified, Rebuild uses site visits, community conversations, and on-the-ground research – including panel discussions, symposiums, and workshops – to help communities uncover and examine problems collectively. During this research phase, overlapping social and physical vulnerabilities and interdependencies are uncovered.

Collaborative Design

Once there is an understanding of the problem, a collaborative design process ensures the final outcome is informed, innovative, and implementable. Working with government and local stakeholders throughout the design stage ensures all projects are realistic and achievable, and have strong community support. Rebuild by Design works to leave communities with a better understanding, increased capacity, implementable projects, new relationships, and demonstrative examples of how a better process leads to a better outcome.


Rebuild by Design began as a design competition, launched by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in partnership with nonprofits and the philanthropic sector, in response to Hurricane Sandy’s devastating impact on the eastern U.S. The premise was simple: raise the bar for response, preparedness, and resilience. Driven by innovation and collaboration, the Rebuild by Design Hurricane Sandy Design Competition became a model to help governments create research-based, collaborative processes that prepare communities and regions for future challenges.



Amy Chester has spent more than 25 years in municipal policy, community engagement, real estate development and communications advocating for


Henk Ovink is the first Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. “Worldwide, water is


Johanna Lawton is a Project Manager at Rebuild by Design, supporting resilient infrastructure initiatives at local, state, and national levels,


September 15, 2023