Capstone Courses and Projects

Manhattan Community Board 4

Affordable Housing Monitor
Community Board 4 (CB4) serves the Chelsea, Hudson Yards and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen areas and involves community members in government decisions that affect their neighborhoods. The Capstone team assisted CB4 by developing a database of its affordable housing stock, particularly the number of units created through multi-jurisdictional public financing mechanisms in market-rate buildings. This information will be used to ascertain which affordable housing has been created, what will be created in the future, and how much more will be needed to meet the demands and needs of the community. The Capstone team collected data from various government agencies, real estate agencies/brokers, and the The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University. The team examined existing affordable housing stock and proposed new construction of affordable housing in the district.

Mississippi Center for Justice

Soria City Commercial Revitalization Project
The Capstone team partnered with the Mississippi Center for Justice, a nonprofit, public interest law firm, in an effort to strengthen the commercial sector of Soria City, a small African American neighborhood of Gulfport, Mississippi that continues to struggle from the adverse impacts of Hurricane Katrina. The team provided essential tools for two aspiring entrepreneurs whose start-ups are expected to boost the neighborhood's overall vitality. Tools included a business plan, a market analysis, assistance with Minority/Women Business Enterprise certification, and a comprehensive guide of loan resources for each entrepreneur. For the broader community, the Capstone team coordinated with local business support organizations to plan a community workshop and networking event. The team also conducted a public survey and community meeting to identify local needs, and produced a community action guide to address broader development issues such as accessibility, street conditions, and zoning.

New York City Business Improvement Districts Association

Building Public Art into Business Improvement Districts? Menu of Services
In New York City, property owners and commercial tenants have the opportunity to form a Business Improvement District (BID), a public-private partnership responsible for promoting local economic development and improving an area's quality of life. There are more than 60 BIDs citywide, and each supplements the City services for property and business owners within the BID boundary. These services include sanitation, security, sidewalk maintenance, and neighborhood marketing. Public art is increasingly viewed as an economic development tool that drives foot traffic to commercial corridors and cultural districts by creating a visually interesting streetscape. The New York City Business Improvement District Managers Association (NYCBA) ? the umbrella organization for the BID Executive Directors ? recognizes the nexus between public art and economic activity, and believes that incorporating public art programming into the BIDs? menu of services is in line with its mission. The NYCBA enlisted a Capstone team to create a framework, implementation strategy, and toolkit for the pilot public art program. The team designed the program based on key informant interviews and surveys on public art programming, economic impact studies, and existing public art programs within New York City agencies.


Evaluation of Keep the Dream: A Refinance Program for Households Facing Foreclosure in New York State
In the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis and in an effort to reduce foreclosures, the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) asked the Capstone team to evaluate their foreclosure prevention and refinance program Keep the Dream, fostered under New York Homes (?nyhomes?). SONYMA provides affordable home ownership opportunities to low and moderate income families in New York State. The Capstone team evaluated Keep the Dream, by creating and applying a custom program evaluation tool. The evaluation tool consists of a set of prioritized goals, a series of program metrics, and a proposed system for collecting and measuring said metrics. The team then used the tool to identify key goals, challenges, and successes of Keep the Dream. The team also interviewed agency personnel, key stakeholders and other state HFAs, and analyzed foreclosure and mortgage performance data to provide recommendations on improving foreclosure prevention programs in the future.

New York University Abu Dhabi

Car Sharing and Parking Management at NYU Abu Dhabi
New York University is developing a campus on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. As part of the campus planning and development efforts, New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) tasked the Capstone team with researching and developing a plan to implement a car share program on the campus. The team researched car share programs and conducted interviews with leading businesses and service providers in the United States and around the world. The team also spent a week in Abu Dhabi talking with key stakeholders to learn about existing conditions in Abu Dhabi as well as regulatory and insurance issues, and cultural limitations for implementing a car share program on NYUAD's campus. The team will deliver a set of recommendations to NYUAD for implementing a car share program. Such recommendations will include a business analysis, advice on partnerships, necessary parking management requirements for the campus, and potential challenges and limitations.

New York University Abu Dhabi

Recycling in NYU Abu Dhabi
New York University is developing a full scale campus in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi that will admit its first class of students in the fall of 2010. The development and operation of New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) will embody the values of New York University, one of which is to be a responsible ecological citizen. The team was tasked with making recommendations for the creation of a comprehensive recycling program for both the permanent and interim campuses of NYUAD. NYUAD expects the recycling program to be broad in scope, attainable in nature, and emblematic of the innovative potential for recycling programs in the broader region. The plan addresses water, organic materials, disposable commodities (such as bottles and cans), and durable goods (such as furniture). The recommendations address both demand side management (sourcing, education) as well as the more traditional post-use issues of recycling (physical planning and operations).

New York University Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi Bike Share and Supporting Infrastructure
New York University Abu Dhabi has enlisted a Capstone team to develop a set of recommendations to encourage non-motorized modes of transportation as viable and enjoyable mobility alternatives for students. NYU Abu Dhabi is in the process of planning both the physical and programmatic aspects of its campus and would like the sustainability ethos of the New York City campus to carry over to Abu Dhabi. Recently, the NYC-based University initiated a bike share pilot program to provide a form of recreation and fill gaps in public transport. The Capstone team is working to develop a bike program and set of policies for both the interim and permanent campus in Abu Dhabi, which could potentially be integrated with a larger citywide bike share program. The Capstone team conducted extensive research into existing bike share programs around the world and traveled to Abu Dhabi to study the existing infrastructure and plans for future development. The recommendations made by the Capstone team will guide University administrators in implementing such a program for both campuses.