Capstone Courses and Projects


Upper East Side and East Harlem Community Engagement Study
CIVITAS is a member­based nonprofit organization serving the Upper East Side and East Harlem communities for the last 30 years on a variety of initiatives in the areas of zoning, transportation, streetscape, and environmental quality. With the assis­tance of the Capstone team, CIVITAS want­ed to gather data to ensure its current and future initiatives correspond with the needs of the community and engage a broader spectrum of the community than it has historically. The Capstone team con­ducted a comprehensive community engagement study of its large and diverse community districts in East Harlem and the Upper East Side. The Capstone team analyzed survey results and produced rec­ommendations on issues to pursue that are a high priority for local community members and feasible to undertake given the organization's capacity.

Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation

Commitment to Community
Executives at Deutsche Bank have devel­oped an interest in the social impact of loan programs and awards that they pro­vide for community development initia­tives. Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations measure financial investments in neighborhoods, but do not measure the short­and long­term impacts of these investments. The Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation (DBAF) and the Community Development Finance Group have granted awards to NYC community based initia­tives over the past decade. The programs have provided pre­development funding for housing rehabilitation and develop­ment in New York City. In order to fully understand the social impacts associated with DBAF's investments, the Capstone team analyzed the financial impact of the awards on the developments, the social impact of the developments on the ten­ants, and the social impact of the project developments on the local communities. Utilizing community input, the team also provided suggestions on ways to enhance the award programs as well as how to include these findings in the due diligence process.

Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.

St. Luke's Hospital Redevelopment: Understanding the Risks of Federal Historic Tax Credits in a Multi­Phase Redevelopment
Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. has invested in a senior affordable housing project, St. Luke's Hospital, located in Cleveland, Ohio. The project will be com­pleted in three phases and will utilize both Low­Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and Federal Historic Tax Credits. Enterprise wanted to know what risk the uncertainty of a multi­phased project poses on the viability of Historic Tax Credits and how this risk will be transmit­ted to its investors. The Capstone team traveled to Cleveland to visit the site and conducted research regarding similar developments across the country. The Capstone team's final product was a case study with best practices for future multi­phased historic tax credit projects and rec­ommendations for Phase III.

Greater New Orleans, Inc.

Best Practices and Economic Development Opportunities in Water Management
Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) was charged by the State of Louisiana to coor­dinate the development of a new municipal water management system for the City of New Orleans and portions of its adjacent suburbs. In conjunction with this endeavor, the Capstone team prepared a reference document of case studies detailing best practices in worldwide water management systems, including physical components, financing mechanisms, and implementation strategies. In light of the area's postHurricane Katrina setting, the team emphasized storm water mitigation strategies in other lowlying and floodprone areas. Additionally, the team analyzed potential economic development opportunities and impacts that may present themselves with the implementation of the best management practices. GNO, Inc. will use these recommendations as it engages local political stakeholders, the general public, and consultants who will contribute to the creation of this new plan.

Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance

Strategic Plan to Expand Ferry Service in the New York Region
The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA)—an umbrella nonprofit represent­ing nearly 500 organizations—is a leader in public access, planning, and environ­mental work related to the New York Harbor. The Capstone team developed a step­by­step strategic plan for MWA to work toward expanded passenger ferry service in the metro area. The plan uses eleven case studies of ferry systems, interviews with industry experts and government officials, NYCEDC's Comprehensive Citywide Ferry Study, the upcoming East River ferry service, and the team's creative input as a basis for its recommendations. The team's recommendations include an East River ferry partnership with EDC and NY Waterways, strategies to engage Community Boards, opportunities for upland transportation connections, funding opportunities, an exploration of expanding commuter ferry capacity for emergency service, and a partnership with business leaders interested in strengthening the New York region.

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets

A Study of Food Processors in New York City
The Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAGM) is charged with fostering a competitive and safe New York food and agricultural industry for the benefit of pro­ducers and consumers. As part of its goal to serve producers, DAGM enlisted the Capstone team to study food processors in New York City in order to better under­stand the benefits and threats they face in choosing to locate here. The team studied businesses in a variety of phases (startups, expanding businesses, largescale processors, and recently closed) and examined their location choices within the context of economic and policy landscapes. Geographic hotspots of processing were identified through use of GIS and the team conducted case studies of firms within those hotspots or other relevant boundaries.


Community Interim Site Use Plan for the Hunts Point Riverside Campus for Arts and the Environment
THE POINT Community Development Corporation is focused on youth develop­ment and community revitalization in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. THE POINT asked the Capstone team to devel­op an interim site plan for an undeveloped land parcel that it had acquired, but was not using to its full potential. The Capstone team performed a rigorous community outreach process to collect input from res­idents and local stakeholders on the com­munity's needs and preferred uses for the site. The team also considered financial feasibility, market conditions, organiza­tional capacity, and mission alignment, in addition to community input to determine the best use for the site. The report includes final recommendations for the use of the site, potential opportunities for partnerships, funding sources for implementation, as well as general considerations for longerterm site development as further space and funding become available.


IBM City Forward: Creating Data Visualizations for Urban Policy and Analysis
IBM has a longstanding history of techno­logical excellence and innovation. Its Corporate Citizenship division has recently launched the Smarter Cities Challenge, inviting cities across the world to apply for funding and technical assistance grants. Part of this portfolio includes City Forward, IBM's newly released, free online public data comparison tool. The Capstone team piloted the tool before and after its release, providing IBM with perspective on the user experience. As part of the analysis of City Forward, the team developed evaluation criteria, including user experience, aes­thetics, accessibility, data availability, and visualization best practices. The Capstone team gathered research through market analysis, interviews with leaders in the field of data visualization, and a literature review. The team provided IBM with a report documenting this research along with recommendations on how to transform City Forward into a more useful tool for practitioners of urban policy and planning.


Complete Streets Project
The Rye YMCA Complete Streets Project is an initiative to promote safer and multi­modal streets in the City of Rye, Village of Mamaroneck, Town of Mamaroneck, and Village of Larchmont as part of the Rye YMCA's Activate America campaign. The Capstone team evaluated physical, policy, and funding possibilities for the four com­munities. Using one study site in each community, the Capstone team applied Complete Street principles to develop a series of physical recommendations that enhance the site for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike. The Capstone team also provided recommendations for policy implementation and funding opportunities. At the culmination of the project, the Capstone team presented its findings to the communities and stakeholders.

York College

The New York
York College engaged a Capstone team to develop physical design and programmat­ic recommendations that both improve the physical connectivity of the York Campus and help to increase a sense of community at the College. In particular, the team looked to identify projects of progressive scale that would have a large impact on the York Community. The Capstone project worked within the guiding principles of promoting health, connecting students with history and cultural resources, and strengthening York's brand. The team developed a "Pilot Project" which is a one day event oncampus designed to foster informal interactions among students and faculty and promote school spirit. The Capstone team's recommendations are the result of consultation and collaboration with York students, faculty, and administration as well as with community stakeholders.