Rebuild by design

Hurricane Sandy Regional Planning and Design Competition

Posted on 7 May 2014


On December 7, 2012 President Obama signed an executive order creating the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force to “…ensure that the Federal Government continues to provide appropriate resources to support affected State, local, and tribal communities to improve the region's resilience, health, and prosperity by building for the future.”

The Task Force exists to ensure cabinet-level, government-wide and region-wide coordination to help communities as they are making decisions about long-term rebuilding.

Two teams are led by Dutch architect companies in cooperation with an American partner. In total 15 Dutch companies participate in five teams: TU Delft, Rebel Group, Deltares, Bosch Slabbers, H+N+S, Palmbout, West8, Arcadis, OMA, Royal HaskoningDHV, ZUS, De Urbanisten, 75B, Volker Infra Design, and One Architecture.


The competition seeks to bring local, regional, and international knowledge to bear in order to:
1. Contribute to a better understanding of the region’s vulnerabilities, strengths, and interdependencies;
2. Generate design proposals that focus on regionally applicable solutions, increase resilience, develop and promote innovation, and integrate local efforts in the region;
3. Build capacity of local communities and federal agencies while promoting an integrated regional approach;
4. Connect to local efforts and strengthen the collaboration within governments and between government, business, academic, non-profit, and other organizations;
5. Ignite innovation, outside-the-box perspectives, and address new trends; and
6. Execute world-class projects with regional impact (either large scale or replicable across the region).




Design teams will be expected to select one of the four focus areas:

Coastal communities

This category focuses on small- to mid-sized coastal communities. These communities are characterized by limited capacity and high coastal vulnerability. Here, there is often a tension between environmental and economic systems (i.e. the tourism industry is dependent on the environment and also vulnerable to it).

High-density urban environments

These economically-significant areas have impacts on both the region and the nation as a whole. These communities have highly complex built and human systems and significant economic value for the entire region. When storms like Sandy hit these communities they cause major disruptions to both the local and regional economy.

Ecological and waterbody networks

These networks are regional by nature; watersheds and ecosystems disregard administrative boundaries and must be considered from the regional scale. This category focuses on the interdependencies between the built and natural environments.

The unidentified and unexpected

This category allows for selected teams to pursue unexpected questions and innovative proposals outside of the framework provided above. This is an open category to encourage outside-the-box approaches and proposals.


Project location

Project partners

  • Arcadis Nederland B.V.
  • Bosch Slabbers landscape + urban design
  • Royal HaskoningDHV
  • TU Delft