Capstone Courses and Projects
Community Board 10 of Manhattan
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, New York City created an affordable program through which organized tenant associations could acquire their buildings through a cooperative ownership structure. There are over 1,100 of these limited equity cooperatives in NYC, known as Housing Development Fund Corporations (HDFC). While the program has had success over the years, many buildings are currently struggling to function as they once did. Many HDFC residents in central Harlem look to their community board (CB10) in times of duress, yet CB10 is not always equipped to respond. It is CB10's goal to provide enough support so that HDFC buildings can remain self-sufficient and continue to be a viable mechanism for affordable housing in the future. Through interviews with residents and stakeholders, town hall meetings, and community research, the Capstone team worked with CB10 to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing HDFC buildings in their community district. The Capstone team created a resource guide to assist HDFCs in their operations and devised a plan for CB10 to serve these residents more effectively.
New Jersey Community Development Corporation
The New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) has identified Hinchliffe Stadium, a former Negro Baseball League venue and treasured community asset, as a key site for revitalization and creative historic preservation. The Capstone team conducted an implementation strategy and feasibility analysis for Hinchliffe Stadium that examined how to reopen the facility for athletic use, preserve and celebrate its historic and cultural importance, and ensure financial sustainability. The final project outlined the steps needed to bring Hinchliffe to a baseline reactivation, recommended an operating model and revenue structure, and described options for future site development. To determine the parameters for site development, the Capstone team examined case studies of comparable historic stadiums to identify appropriate operating models and potential expenditures and revenues. Additionally, the Capstone team analyzed different financing options, which involved profiling potential sponsors and partners. The final report provided a roadmap for stakeholders to use when moving forward with this project.
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is responsible for identifying and designating landmark buildings and areas in the five boroughs. LPC requested a Capstone team in order to better understand, compare, and analyze how other cities landmarks and preservation commissions operate. The Capstone team chose the cities of Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Palm Beach, and San Francisco for the study. The team's research, which focused on differentiating stages in the designation processes and subprocesses for the cities as well as laying out a typology for each city, has yielded findings that are informative for LPC and will provide them with a set of best practices and recommendations.
Westchester Department of Transportation
In 2008, Westchester County launched its Global Warming Action Plan, which acknowledged the importance of promoting alternative modes of transit. Viewing bike sharing as a possible solution to promoting alternative transportation, the Westchester Department of Transportation tasked a Capstone team to examine the opportunity for bike sharing in Westchester County. The first phase of a dual phase report analyzed an array of bike share programs around the world, opinions of experts (stakeholders and non-stakeholders) on bike sharing and the feasibility of implementing a bike share program in the County, and existing relevant conditions in the County. This comprehensive examination informed the selection of four preliminary sites prime for bike sharing in Westchester, including Mount Vernon, White Plains, the Croton Aqueduct, and the Long Island Sound Corridor. With the input of Westchester DOT, the Capstone team chose the municipalities of Mount Vernon and White Plains for further policy, programmatic, infrastructure, and expansion recommendations for bike sharing.
New York City Department of City Planning
New York City does not currently conduct a routine practice of revisiting area wide rezoning after some years have elapsed to determine whether the consequences were as expected or different from what was anticipated. The Capstone team worked with the New York City Department of City Planning to create a methodology and perform an evaluation of the effects of area wide rezonings, providing insights into how the tools of zoning policy operate in the complex processes of neighborhood change.
Office of Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz
4th Avenue is a key through road connecting Downtown Brooklyn to the Verrazzano Bridge, beginning at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. Schools, churches, and auto repair shops shape the character of the 6.2 mile long avenue. Recognizing an unmet need, the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President requested a Capstone team to engage community stakeholders and subject matter experts in shaping a new vision for 4th Avenue. The team conducted extensive research, provided presentations to the client and key stakeholders, and produced a final report and presentation. The final report recommended improvements to the street median and flow of traffic, streetscaping projects, placemaking and wayfinding tools to draw out neighborhood character, increased green space, land use and softsite repurposing, and engagement with community members.