Rebuild by Design (RBD) was formally launched on June 20, 2013, to ensure that the rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy incorporated designs that built in resilience. RBD was launched with strong public leadership, philanthropic support and professional interest within the design community. The early enthusiasm for RBD came as much from curiosity about RBD's vision and ambition as from the substantial size of the implementation awards from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds that Congress appropriated to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Hurricane Sandy Recovery. Phase I of RBD held true to the vision of iteratively responding to science-based evidence and to local citizens and community groups through open-ended design techniques. These activities unfolded in various ways and to different ends throughout Phase I's three stages – Stage 1: team selection, Stage 2: research, and Stage 3: community engagement. RBD managers also kept an eye on the feasibility of design proposals from technical, financial and political perspectives – parameters that have all been heavily shaped by RBD's post-Sandy New York context. As part of its ongoing commitment to learn from the work it supports, the Rockefeller Foundation provided funding for the Urban Institute to evaluate the design competition component of Phase 1 of RBD, including its innovative aspects, partnerships and community engagement. The highly positive findings of the evaluation indicate that even though RBD itself is limited in scope to the Sandy recovery area, it has the potential to be transformational in the way disaster recovery efforts are designed, funded and implemented at a broader scale in the US. With the caveat that the evaluation looked only at the design competition phase, RBD brings hope and inspiration that collectively communities and decision makers can 'build back better' by responding in innovative and creative ways and working as a region to become more resilient. In sum, RBD has moved the mark on resilience action in the U.S.