Designing for disasters #thinkdifferent


Henk Ovink is the Netherland’s acting director general of spatial planning and water affairs and took a different approach to this international challenge.

In June 2013, the US housing department launched a $1bn multidisciplinary design competition informed by this new approach. Dubbed Rebuild by Designand funded by the Rockefeller Foundation (which also supports Guardian Cities) and other organisations, nearly 150 interdisciplinary design teams applied to participate. Ten finalist teams were chosen in August 2013, after which Ovink led them through a year-long process of research and collaboration with community stakeholders to understand and design around local conditions and needs.

The design teams – world-class architects, landscape architects, engineers and urban planners – were forbidden from offering any design solutions at the start. Instead, they engaged in three months of research, travelling the region to meet stakeholders and learn about local concerns directly from the people affected by Sandy.

This Guardian article is a great read on challenging the way we have responses to disaster recovery.

How a design competition changed the US approach to disaster response (the guardian)