Who We Are

What is Rebuild by Design?

Our cities were built in response to yesterday’s problems. As the world faces rising populations, climate change, and economic challenges, communities can’t afford to wait until after the next hurricane or flood, or ignore chronic stresses such as aging infrastructure and pollution, to plan for the future. Rebuild By Design is reimagining the way communities find solutions for today’s large-scale, complex problems.

Rebuild by Design convenes a mix of sectors - including government, business, non-profit, and community organizations - to gain a better understanding of how overlapping environmental and human-made vulnerabilities leave cities and regions at risk. Rebuild’s core belief is that through collaboration our communities can grow stronger and better prepared to stand up to whatever challenges tomorrow brings.

How We Work

Our Method

Rebuild by Design uses collaborative, design-driven problem-solving to help communities and cities build resilience. Communities can overcome existing creative and regulatory barriers by cultivating collaboration between designers, researchers, community members, government officials and subject-matter experts. This collaboration remains at the heart of an iterative creative process to address the intersection of physical, social, and ecological resilience to drive lasting change. Rebuild begins by analyzing which individuals and organizations have the best expertise and pairs them with those who best understand the affected community’s challenges to develop projects that make regions stronger, more resilient places to live.

Collaborative Research

Once project experts have been identified, Rebuild uses site visits, community conversations, and on-the-ground research – including panel discussions, symposiums, and workshops – to help communities uncover and examine problems collectively. During this research phase, overlapping social and physical vulnerabilities and interdependencies are uncovered.

Collaborative Design

Once there is an understanding of the problem, a collaborative design process ensures the final outcome is informed, innovative, and implementable. Working with government and local stakeholders throughout the design stage ensures all projects are realistic and achievable, and have strong community support. Rebuild by Design works to leave communities with a better understanding, increased capacity, implementable projects, new relationships, and demonstrative examples of how a better process leads to a better outcome.


Rebuild by Design began as a design competition, launched by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in partnership with nonprofits and the philanthropic sector, in response to Hurricane Sandy’s devastating impact on the eastern U.S. The premise was simple: raise the bar for response, preparedness, and resilience. Driven by innovation and collaboration, the Rebuild by Design Hurricane Sandy Design Competition became a model to help governments create research-based, collaborative processes that prepare communities and regions for future challenges.

Our team




Rebuild by Design has organized a number of public programs and events to hear from you. We also encourage you to reach out on Twitter and Facebook and tell us what you are up to at info@rebuildbydesign.org. To learn more about when and where public programs and events are happening you can sign up for our newsletter.