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Administrative Conference of U.S. recognizes design competition as government-wide model

WASHINGTON – June 5, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Each year, the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) bestows its Walter Gellhorn Innovation Award to a federal agency with the best model practice that can be adopted government-wide. Today, ACUS announced that the 2015 Walter Gellhorn Innovation Award is being presented to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild by Design Competition.

Rebuild by Design was created in the summer of 2013 by President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force as a way to develop ideas capable of dramatically improving the physical, ecological, and economic resilience of coastal areas. The competition produced regional, cross-disciplinary collaboration between state and local governments, the ten design teams, regional nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and the public. The Rockefeller Foundation was the lead financial supporter of the competition. Teams worked to create coalitions with local and regional stakeholders to develop locally-responsive proposals to improve the resilience of waterfront communities.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to receive this recognition on behalf of the many partners who came together to think of new ways to consider the challenge of how we prepare for natural disasters,” said Harriet Tregoning, HUD’s Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development. “Rebuild by Design tapped into world-class talent to rethink how we might meet the inescapable challenges of climate change.”

The Rebuild by Design competition had 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 also helped provide a better understanding of the many interconnected systems (infrastructure, ecological, climate, economic and others) in the Sandy-affected region. Design teams first analyzed major regional vulnerabilities and then, through the collaborative design process, focused on local implementation and key projects for improving the region’s resilience.

One year ago, HUD announced six winning design proposals from interdisciplinary teams representing some of the best planning, design, and engineering talent in the world. These inventive proposals are a blueprint for how coastal communities can maximize resilience as they rebuild and recover from major disasters. HUD chose the winners for their excellence in design and resilience and their engagement with local communities. These ideas will serve as a model for how States and local communities mitigate the effects of climate change and natural disasters in communities throughout the Sandy region, the United States, and the world. To support these design concepts, HUD awarded $920 million to New Jersey, New York, and New York City to assist with implementation of winning proposals. Read more about these winning designs.


HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
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The Administrative Conference of the United States is an independent federal agency dedicated to improving the administrative process through consensus-driven applied research, providing nonpartisan expert advice and recommendations for improvement of federal agency procedures. Its membership is composed of innovative federal officials and experts with diverse views and backgrounds from both the private sector and academia.

 The Administrative Conference is committed to promoting improved government procedures including fair and effective dispute resolution and wide public participation and efficiency in the rulemaking process by leveraging interactive technologies and encouraging open communication with the public.  In addition the Administrative Conference’s mandate includes fostering improvements to the regulatory process by reducing unnecessary litigation, and improving the use of science and the effectiveness of applicable laws.

Heather Fluit
(202) 708-0685