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. HUD conducted the competition under the authority of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, 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. The competition process aimed to strengthen understanding of regional interdependencies, fostering coordination and resilience both at the local level and across the US.

Watch a short video on the groundbreaking competition.

Ten interdisciplinary teams of scientists, engineers, designers, and architects spent months understanding the major vulnerabilities of the Sandy-affected region and developing projects to improve the region's resilience. In June 2014, then-HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the award of $930M to seven winning ideas. Each winning idea comprises multiple phases, which collectively represent a master plan for the area of focus. The awards dedicated to the winning designs are provided by HUD to assist in the implementation of the first phase of each master plan.

In October 2014, HUD published a Federal Register Notice, which advised the public of a third allocation of CDBG-DR funds appropriated by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013. This allocation awards funds directly to New Jersey, New York State, New York City, and Connecticut to assist in Hurricane Sandy recovery and includes the funds to implement the first phase of the winning ideas from the Rebuild by Design competition.

Over the next several years, each grantee will work to implement the first phase of the seven winning ideas. The schedule is as follows:

February 2015 – Grantees submit Action Plans Amendments to HUD

April 2015 – HUD approves Action Plan Amendments

September 2017 – HUD obligation deadline

September 2019 – HUD expenditure deadline