Rebuild by design: comprehensive urban water strategy

Evidence of our commitment to enhancing society is unmistaken in our approach to the Rebuild by Design initiative. Rebuild by Design seeks new and innovative solutions to the structural and environmental vulnerabilities that Hurricane Sandy exposed in communities throughout the New York and New Jersey region.

The competition connects the world's most talented researchers, designers and engineers with the affected area's businesses, policymakers and local stakeholders to better understand how to redevelop their communities. As part of Team OMA, our concept - Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge - is one of the winning designs and provides a comprehensive water strategy for high-density urban environments.

The strategy uses a combination of hard infrastructure and soft landscaping and is based on four pillars:

  • Resist: Coastal defence from elevated flood defence structures

  • Delay: Slow down rainwater runoff through urban infrastructure

  • Store: Green infrastructure to store excess rainwater

  • Discharge: Water pumps and alternative routes to get the water out

The plan was developed in very close cooperation with the local community and received tremendous support from over 60 stakeholders representing almost all interests in the city. The proposed concept is a blue-print for high-density cities worldwide and has generated global interest from other cities facing flood risk challenges.

Henk Ovink, Principal of Rebuild by Design said, "Through this collaborative design process, the teams delivered innovative solutions that bridge the gap between social and physical vulnerabilities. I am so proud of these teams, the communities and their partners for giving the region a new way forward. They showed that this is not about making a plan, Rebuild by Design is about changing a culture."

This strategy provides the City of Hoboken with a comprehensive flood protection system that deals with both storm surge flood risk as well as flooding from intense storm water events. Dealing with this complex flood risk in a multidisciplinary approach underlines our team's capacity to work in challenging environments over several knowledge fields and integrate solutions to create a valuable urban adaptation approach.


Marten Hillen

Director Business Development Water Treatment Technologies - Americas

+1 405 332 3532