Rebuild by Design Competition Receives Federal Award for Innovation

NEW YORK, October 8, 2015 – 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 Challenge.gov, 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 Challenge.gov 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.

About The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission—unchanged since 1913—is to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, we pursue this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, we work at the intersection of four focus areas—advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities—to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot. For more information, please visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org

About the Department of Housing and Urban Development

HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination, and transform the way HUD does business.

About Rebuild by Design

Rebuild by Design marshals the talent of the world to answer a region¹s greatest needs.  We convene stakeholders to create processes for systemic change that will transform our built environment in ways that are design-driven and equitable to address future risks and a changing climate while solving for today¹s problems.

What was developed as competition in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Rebuild by Design marshals the talent of the world to answer a region¹s greatest needs that brought together thousands of stakeholders who contributed to ten visionary design proposals that address the intersection of physical, social, and ecological resiliency.  Seven of those designs are in being implemented in the Northeast United States.

Today, Rebuild by Design keeps communities connected to the implementation of the designs in the Sandy region; explores changes needed in policy, regulation, and operations; and researches the best practices in developing resilience as it exports its process to other regions by helping government create processes to rethink resilience before disaster strikes.  To learn more visit www.rebuildbydesign.org

About 100 Resilient Cities, Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation

100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each member city who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a resilience strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. 100RC currently has 67 member cities. For more information, visit: www.100ResilientCities.org.

About Challenge.gov

Challenge.gov is a technical platform and list of challenge and prize competitions, all of which are run by more than 75 agencies across federal government. These include technical, scientific, ideation, and creative competitions where the U.S. government seeks innovative solutions from the public, bringing the best ideas and talent together to solve mission-centric problems.

You will find hundreds of competitions that cover a wide range of interests and require varying levels of skills and abilities in order to participate. You can discover something of interest to you, sorting by type of challenge and by the agency hosting the competition. They are listed in chronological order, from most recent launched to older, closed competitions going back to 2010.

The platform is available at no cost for federal agencies to host crowdsourcing competitions. And there are no fees for the public to participate and enter the challenges. Some competitions are hosted on third-party, non-government sites. Clicking the link to the challenge competition will take you directly to the host website.

Challenge.gov is administered by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) in partnership with agencies across government and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. For more information, visit: www.challenge.gov

For more information, please contact:

100 Resilient Cities:

Andrew Brenner – (646) 612-7236 (ABrenner@100rc.org)