Capstone Courses and Projects

Enterprise Community Partners

St. George Ferry Terminal - Affordable Housing Needs and Options
Between 2000 and 2005 the median rent and home value of Staten Island's Community District 1 increased by 33 and 110 percent, respectively, outpacing the only 11 percent increase in median household income. The combination of accelerated housing costs and transportation options available in the District have prompted Enterprise Community Partners to identify the area of CD 1 within a two-mile radius of St. George Ferry Terminal as a potential candidate for affordable housing Smart Growth development. The Capstone team has been charged with preparing a thorough existing conditions report and potential development site analysis of this study area which will allow Enterprise to make informed decisions regarding where their mission of creating/supporting affordable housing, and fostering smart growth and economic development could have the most positive impacts. Through the analysis of census information, population growth projections, zoning regulations, and land use, transportation, housing and employment data, the report provides a comprehensive portrait of the study area and specifically identifies several potential affordable housing development sites.

Gaia Institute

Green Roofs: A Cost Effective Policy for New York City?
Green roofs serve as an innovative strategy to help cities develop sustainable practices that contribute to the restoration of their natural habitat. Dense urban development and neglect have jeopardized New York City’s environment and created a situation where poor air quality, increased local temperatures, high-energy consumption, inadequate storm-water management, pollution, limited access to open space, and excessive levels of solid waste threaten public health and fiscal solvency. Currently, New York City lacks a comprehensive and cost-effective strategy to mitigate these adverse conditions. Using case studies, GIS modeling, a political climate review, and a study of costs and benefits, this study concludes that green roofs can play a significant role in helping the city to achieve five of the ten sustainability goals recently outlined by Mayor Bloomberg initiative PlaNYC 2030, while also producing economic savings. Additionally, this report offers implementation recommendations for a city-wide policy and suggests a specific location in NYC that would be best suited as a starting point for green roof infrastructure.

New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development

Greening Initiative
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is the largest municipal housing agency in the nation with over 2,800 employees and an annual operating budget of approximately $480 million. Recently, HPD undertook a Greening Initiative as an agency-wide effort to determine how the agency can promote more energy-efficient and sustainable (green) construction in a manner which benefits tenants, developers, and building owners. HPD asked the Capstone team to create two series of recommendations, the first on cost effective green building techniques suitable to affordable housing in New York City, and the second on financing and policy strategies that help advance the incorporation of such techniques by affordable housing developers. In support of these recommendations, the Capstone team also produced case studies on existing affordable housing projects and building guidelines, analyzed the perceptions of the city’s affordable multifamily financing community on green development, and re-modeled an existing HPD supportive housing project to include environmentally-friendly building techniques.

Village of Hempstead, Community Development Agency

Hempstead Performing Arts Center Feasibility Study
The Village of Hempstead, located in the Town of Hempstead in central Nassau County, has experienced economic decline and blight in previous decades and is currently embarking on a plan of downtown revitalization and redevelopment. As part of its plans for downtown Hempstead, the Hempstead Community Development Agency is considering the development of a performing arts center. The Capstone team has been charged with investigating the issues surrounding the construction and operation of a performing arts center in Hempstead. In order to do so, the team researched and analyzed comparable case studies of communities that had built performing arts centers to determine indicators of success and/or failure. The team integrated the case study information into a report that included a market analysis, a cost-benefit analysis, and research on potential financing and operational options for the proposed performing arts center.

Village of Ossining, Westchester County Department of Planning

Sing Sing Historic Prison Museum
The Capstone team produced a report examining the planning context and feasibility of a Sing Sing Historic Prison Museum within the walls of the active Sing Sing Correctional Facility. The report is part of a comprehensive resource package for community outreach efforts and funding applications to public and private sources. The Capstone team identified four study areas for the report: (1) Economic impacts of the museum including an economic base analysis, updated projections of anticipated economic benefits (including employment and visitor spending), identification of potential spillover effects, and case studies for communities with comparable facilities were analyzed. (2) A survey was conducted of the existing tourism resources in the vicinity, and suggestions on how the proposed museum would complement and benefit from this critical industry. This section evaluates prospects for establishing a national and international profile, as well as potential to tap into the New York City tourism market. In addition, comparable museum facilities are detailed, with lessons for the museum highlighted. (3) The access, parking and transportation chapter identifies existing transportation resources that provide access to the proposed museum. Impacts of the museum on existing transportation networks are projected as well as recommendations for mitigation. (4) Linkages between the waterfront location of the museum and the Village’s central business district were also identified. Transportation improvements, urban design solutions, and the creation of community linkages are explored as means of knitting together these two critical nodes of activity.