September 17, 2013
By James Devitt
NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge (IPK), directed by FAS sociology professor Eric Kleinenberg, is partnering with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the President’s Hurricane Sandy Task Force to organize “Rebuild by Design,” a multistage regional competition to promote resilience for the Sandy-affected region.
The competition will help provide solutions to problems that are larger or more complex than individual towns have the capacity to solve themselves.
“The competition process will deliver a better understanding of regional interdependencies and foster regional coordination and resilience across the United States,” says HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, who announced the competition at IPK in late June. “Natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy do not respect state or local borders, and we too must know no boundaries—both literally and figuratively—as we think about our plans for the future.”
The goal of the competition is to attract world-class talent, promote innovation, and develop projects that will be built. Once the best ideas are identified, HUD will support their implementation using funds made available through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program, as well as other public and private funds. Design solutions are expected to range in scope and scale—from large-scale green infrastructure to small-scale residential resiliency retrofits.
IPK will serve as lead partner in providing an analysis of the region through a collaborative process with local communities, regional stakeholders, and international experts. This examination is aimed at providing a better understanding of the many interconnected systems (e.g., infrastructure, ecological, climate, and economic) in the Sandy-affected region.
As a result of this process, competing design teams will have a fuller understanding of the region’s major vulnerabilities, allowing them to then develop project proposals for improving the region’s resilience.
Rebuild by Design will center on four focus areas: coastal communities, high-density urban environments, ecological networks, and a fourth category that will include other innovative questions and proposals.
The Rockefeller Foundation is the lead funding partner for the competition and will provide support for the analysis and design process. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) serves as a special partner, providing critical expertise and guidance.