NJIT Architect's Team Shortlisted for Rebuild by Design Competition

Georgeen Theodore A design team lead by Associate Professor Georgeen Theodore is one of ten finalists in the Rebuild by Design Competition sponsored the the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in response to Hurricane Sandy. The team is a partnership between Interboro Partners, the New York based architectural firm, in which Theodore is a partner, and the College of Architecture and Design’s Infrastructure Planning program, which she directs, as well as Dutch agencies which specialize in such areas as land use planning. Theodore has expertise in urban design and community outreach.

The Rebuild by Design competition was created by HUD to develop strategies to increase the resiliency of urban and coastal areas in the face of extreme weather events and climate change. HUD’s goal is “to promote innovation by developing regionally-scalable but locally-contextual solutions that increase resilience in the region,” and to implement selected proposals with both public and private funding dedicated to this effort. The competition also represents a policy innovation by committing to set aside HUD Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funding specifically to incentivize implementation of winning projects and proposals. The shortlist of 10 teams—including architects, landscape architects, university groups, developers, engineers and others—has been announced.

In addition to Interboro and NJIT, Theodore’s team includes TU Delft; Project Projects; RFA Investments; IMG Rebel; Center for Urban Pedagogy; David Rusk; Apex; Deltares; Bosch Slabbers; H+N+S; and Palmbout Urban Landscapes.

“This team combines the best of Dutch land-use planning, environmental and coastal engineering, and urban water management with the best of American participatory planning, community development, and economic analysis and financial engineering,” she explained. 

She said the Dutch contingent consists of design professionals with extensive collaborative experience working to adaptively plan coastal regions around the world. “They have envisioned, designed, and implemented some of the most important flood mitigation and management strategies worldwide,” she said.

She added that the American contingent, consisting of recognized professionals in the fields of architecture, urban design, urban planning, coastal engineering, community economic development, governance, education, graphic design, and financial-economic advising, have an extensive track record working with communities to find bold (yet sensitive) solutions to resiliency issues.

Interboro Partners have proposed to perform multidisciplinary, regional analyses of the region’s vulnerabilities in order to identify comprehensive flood-mitigation strategies aimed at making a more resilient region. The analysis will include work with low and medium-density, low-income, flood-prone communities to identify ways that these strategies could be tailored to help meet local needs.

“We wish to demonstrate that some of the pioneering flood-mitigation strategies developed by the team can be leveraged by vulnerable communities to strengthen local economies and improve housing, transportation, and public space on the municipal level,” she said.