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WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 14, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — In the nearly three years since Hurricane Sandy devastated coastal communities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Rockefeller Foundation and a multi-discipline team of regional planning partners organized a nearly $1 billion competition to foster coordination and resilience at the local level and across the country. Today, the General Services Administration (GSA) awarded HUD’s Rebuild by Design Competition the first-ever “Most Groundbreaking Federal Challenge or Prize Competition.”

Rebuild by Design 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 75 federal agencies. The award recognizes some of the most innovative prize designs that have created groundbreaking solutions to significant, intractable problems.

“Rebuild by Design is a perfect example of proactive partnerships working to solve our great challenges” saidDenise 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.”

“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.”

“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.”


The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force launched the Rebuild by Design competition in June 2013, a multi-stage planning and design competition to promote resilience in the Sandy-affected region. Working close with the Rockefeller Foundation and other philanthropic, academic and non-profit organizations, HUD conducted the competition and administered the competition in partnership with philanthropic, academic, and nonprofit organizations. The goal of the competition was to promote innovation by developing regionally-scalable but locally-contextual solutions that increase resilience in the region. The competition also represented a policy innovation by committing to set-aside HUD Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding specifically to incentivize the implementation of winning projects and proposals. Examples of design solutions were expected to range in scope and scale – from large-scale green infrastructure to small-scale residential resiliency retrofits.

In June 2014, HUD awarded $930 million to seven winning ideas. These designs are a blueprint for how coastal communities in the United States 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. Read more about the winning designs.

The Rebuild by Design competition set new standards for robust community engagement, intense collaboration with state/local government partners, and in-depth research. The design teams toured 41 neighborhoods in the region during the research phase and worked closely with residents, community stakeholders and local governments in order to design implementable solutions for a more resilient region. Overall, the competition included the participation of 535 organizations, 64 community events, 141 neighborhoods and cities, and 181 government agencies.

The Competition is also an example of a unique public-private partnership. The Rockefeller Foundation was the leading funding partner for Rebuild by Design, supporting the analysis and design process. Other foundations/organizations such as New York University’s Institute of Public Knowledge, the Regional Plan Association, the Municipal Arts Society of New York and the Van Alen Institute contributed expertise and resources to the competition as well.

Earlier this year, Rebuild by Design also earned the Walter Gellhorn Innovation Award from the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) bestowed its Walter Gellhorn Innovation Award as a model practice that can be adopted government-wide.



HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet
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Brian Sullivan
(202) 708-0685