First-Ever Federal Honor for Contributions to Developing Innovative & Cost Effective Solutions to Resilience Challenges Awarded for Rebuild by Design’s Competition to Create Storm Resilient Infrastructure in New York Metropolitan Area

NEW YORK – Rebuild by Design, the international design competition tasked with developing innovative plans to protect the New York region from another Superstorm Sandy, has been awarded the first-ever “Most Groundbreaking Federal Challenge or Prize Competition” by the General Services Administration (GSA). Rebuild was selected by GSA to receive this award from a group of more than 100 nominations. The award marks the fifth anniversary of, a GSA platform that hosts competitions for more than 80 federal agencies. The award recognizes some of the most innovative prize designs that have created groundbreaking solutions to significant, intractable problems.

Rebuild by Design was an initiative of the Presidential Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and was formed as a partnership between The Rockefeller Foundation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) , to develop creative and viable solutions to challenges that Superstorm Sandy made all too clear.  When it launched in 2013, the Rebuild by Design competition received 148 applications from across the world. 10 teams were selected and in a unique process of collaboration, research and design, worked to develop 10 infrastructure projects that will enable the New York Metropolitan Area to better withstand future storms as well as to enhance day-to-day life of the community. These projects included the “Big U,” an eight-mile barrier of parkland surrounding lower Manhattan to guard against flooding. The Department of Housing and Urban Development granted $920 million in 2014 to implement six winning projects. Rebuild by Design was named CNN’s top 10 most innovative idea of 2013.

Last month, 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) and Rebuild by Design together announced that Rebuild would join 100RC to help export the cutting edge program to cities in the 100RC network around the globe.

“When Superstorm Sandy struck the Tri-State area, Rockefeller stood at the ready to work with HUD and provide support to innovate how recovery dollars would be spent,” said Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation. “The GSA’s recognition of Rebuild by Design’s success underscores the importance of collaboration; the power created when philanthropies, government and business work together is unparalleled and has been shown to create innovative solutions to even the most daunting problems.”

“This recognition is a powerful testament to what can happen when government is willing to consider new ideas to get the best possible outcomes,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro.  “The realities of climate change demand new coordinated approaches to protecting coastal communities.  Rebuild by Design is turning vulnerable communities into attractive, livable areas that can weather future storms.”
“Rebuild by Design is a perfect example of proactive partnerships working to solve our great challenges” said Denise Turner Roth, GSA Administrator, “This is made possible through innovative prize competitions that unlock the talent and cooperation of Americans across the country. GSA is honored to manage the platform and looks forward to continued partnership with federal agencies to solve the American people’s most pressing challenges. I am pleased to recognize the Rebuild by Design competition, which generated groundbreaking solutions in standards for community engagement, collaboration with state and local government partners, and in-depth research.”

“Rebuild by Design is a great precedent for Government on all levels, the Private Sector, Philanthropy, Non Profits and community stakeholders working to create solutions to our biggest challenges together” said Amy Chester, Managing Director, Rebuild by Design“The GSA has recognized that by taking a step back to create a process that examines the issues from all perspectives, we achieve better outcomes.”

“Rebuild by Design is a truly innovative, collaborative and inclusive design process aimed to increase resilience for the New York region,” said Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs at Kingdom of the Netherlands and Principal of Rebuild by Design. “I applaud my partners including HUD, The Rockefeller Foundation, communities in the Tri-State area, the design teams and others for their courage to step up and face our future’s uncertainty head on by taking part in this unprecedented approach. The success of our work is the ultimate impact it will have on communities in the region. The acknowledgement and honor bestowed by GSA today will help elevate Rebuild by Design and it’s impact so that it can be better replicated around the country and across the world.”

“The work Rebuild by Design has done to develop resilient and sustainable infrastructure for cities like New York to fare better in the event of a natural disaster is not only worthy of an award such as this, it is also a clear indicator of the great things to come from the team,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities, which will now operate Rebuild by Design. “We are proud that Rebuild will be continuing their work as a member of the 100RC family and look forward to expanding their impact to the diverse global 100RC network,” he said.

Rebuild by Design recently forged partnership with 100RC, enables Rebuild to apply its award-winning model for incorporating the experience and vision of design and sustainability experts to other cities in the global 100RC network.