MANHATTAN, N.Y. — A recent contest for the design of infrastructure projects to protect New York City and New Jersey from flooding could result in a $1 billion construction project.

The winning design will protect the vital urban areas from rising sea levels and storm surges like the ones brought to the area by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The design competition, which was launched by Rebuild by Design in response to Hurricane Sandy, was the largest of its kind in U.S. history. The contest received financial backing from the federal government.

Asked why the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development decided to hold the competition, Holly Leicht, the department’s New York and New Jersey regional administrator, said, “There were two driving factors: The first was an affirmative decision that community development disaster recovery money should be spent not just on immediate recovery, but also on long-term future resilience. Because there was an emphasis on that, it was immediately felt that this should be done in a far-reaching way to bring in innovative ideas.”

The winning entries also include a $335 million flood barrier along Manhattan’s Lower East Side and a $60 million living breakwater along Staten Island’s South Shore. In New Jersey, $230 million will go into creating a “resiliency district” in Hoboken, with the hope of encouraging public-private finance to further enhance the area.