The Rebuild by Design Hurricane Sandy Design Competition changed the way the federal government responds to disaster and became the model now used in other regions to prepare communities for future uncertainties. Its success has also inspired other efforts. In 2014, President Obama launched the National Disaster Resilience Competition, which awarded $1 billion to 13 cities and states across the country to fund resilience-building projects. Internationally, The Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with the USAID and The Swedish International Development Agency, developed the Global Partnership for Resilience based on the Rebuild by Design competition model and collaborative approach. The competition model’s success also led to the formation of the Rebuild by Design organization, which is helping cities and communities around the globe become more resilient through collaborative research and design.
Starting in 2015, a group of forward-thinking regional leaders began to develop a plan for a proactive regional design challenge modeled after Rebuild’s Hurricane Sandy Competition. The resilience plans developed in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley as part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities effort identified a need for greater regional collaboration to address climate adaptation – despite the looming threat of climate change, there was no comprehensive regional plan to deal with the sea level in the Bay Area. The unique hydrology of the Bay warranted the type of collaboration the design challenge could facilitate, as shoreline protections in one area of the Bay could increase sea levels or wave action in another. Collaboration on this scale could help illuminate the need for each county to consider the impacts of their decisions on the other communities that share the shoreline. With hundreds of jurisdictions and countless communities sharing the shoreline, there was ample need to catalyze and inspire collaboration.