Henk Ovink is Principal of ‘Rebuild by Design’ and Senior Advisor for Secretary Shaun Donovan of HUD and the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. He leads the long term and innovation rebuilding efforts for Secretary Donovan. He started, developed, and leads the ‘Rebuild by Design’ competition (RBD), developed to ignite innovation for a new standard of regional resilience in design and development, in building and rebuilding in the light of climate change, sea level rise and future economic, ecological and cultural demands. RBD was named #1 in CNN’s 2013 Top 10 Most Innovative Ideas.
Rebuild by Design created alliances for change, pushed for research by design and connected with real projects, linking design to politics and advocating reform through new perspectives, through cultural change. The collective actions are no frame or set boundaries but more a movement, like a school. This school is no metaphor but real; it is the cultural change within institutions and the design world that creates better places and policies through design and collaboration, through a process of reform. Because we need new questions in order to get new answers, everyday and everywhere. And at the same time we need to reconnect with our past, re-learning what we forgot, connecting with what was lost. Not to celebrate the past, but to go on, ignite the future and bring reform, by design.
Ovink was both Director General of Spatial Planning and Water Affairs and Director National of Spatial Planning for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. He teaches at Harvard GSD, Syracuse University SoA, TU Delft and the University of Groningen. He is a member of the advisory boards for MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism, The Berlage Institute, Delft University of Technology and of the Master City Developer Rotterdam. He was Curator for the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2012 ‘Making City’ and curates the debate series ‘Design and Politics: The Next Phase’ for Aedes Network Campus, Berlin. He also initiated the research program Design and Politics at the TU Delft and is Chief Editor of 010 Publishers’ Design and Politics.