The Netherlands has a deep connection to New York and New Jersey, the communities affected by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Not just because of the strong historic ties with the land once called New Amsterdam and New Netherland, but because the Netherlands and the affected states are vulnerable to threats from storm surge, rising seas, and extreme weather.

Following Hurricane Sandy, President Obama created the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, and Rebuild by Design, led by Dutch water management expert Henk Ovink, was a key component. It began as a new kind of design competition to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, but grew into an innovative process that places local communities and civic leaders at the heart of a robust, interdisciplinary, creative process to rebuild a more resilient region.

Its inclusive process has since provoked a shift in how planners and governments approach disaster response and emergency preparedness.

Placing substantive collaboration between designers, researchers, community members, and government officials at the heart of the creative process, the Hurricane Sandy competition resulted in 10 visionary design proposals to rebuild a more resilient community.  Seven of those designs are being implemented.