Urban Planning

Citi Bike: The First Two Years

Citi Bike: The First Two Years
Sarah M. Kaufman, Lily Gordon-Koven, Nolan Levenson and Mitchell L. Moss, Citi Bike: The First Two Years. NYU Rudin Center, June 2015.

Sarah M. Kaufman, Lily Gordon-Koven, Nolan Levenson and Mitchell L. Moss

New York City launched Citi Bike, the largest bike share program in the United States, in May 2013. This study examines the first two years of Citi Bike and its role in New York City mobility. Citi Bike’s station connection to public transportation hubs and station density are major factors in the system’s high ridership and use. Seventy-four percent of Citi Bike stations are within a five-minute walk of a subway station entrance, providing a “last mile” solution for transit commuters. The system’s greatest challenges are expanding and diversifying its customer base while also rebalancing the number of bicycles available at high-demand stations. Citi Bike has become an integral part of New York’s transportation culture, even though it serves a limited geographic area. This report addresses those challenges and recommends strategies for the future.

Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods

Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods
"Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods," NYU Rudin Center for Transportation, November 2015.

Sarah M. Kaufman, Mitchell L. Moss, Jorge Hernandez and Justin Tyndall

Although public transit provides access to jobs throughout the New York City region, there are actually substantial inequalities in mobility. By focusing on the neighborhood level, the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation has identified communities that are substantially underserved by the public transportation system. The Rudin Center ranked New York City’s 177 neighborhoods according to the number of jobs accessible from the neighborhoods by transit, within 60 minutes and completed by 9:00 a.m. on a Monday morning. This analysis reveals high variation in levels of transit access across New York affect residents’ employment levels, travel modes and incomes. This report seeks to affect the implementation of new policies and transit services to increase economic opportunity for New Yorkers, and ensure that the transportation system is fully leveraged to connect workers with jobs. These improvements will benefit all New Yorkers’ access to job opportunities and economic mobility.

Building prosecutorial autonomy from within: The transformation of the Ministério Público in Brazil

Building prosecutorial autonomy from within: The transformation of the Ministério Público in Brazil

Coslovsky, Salo and Amit Nigam

How do prosecutors acquire professional prerogatives, organizational autonomy, and legal authority? In contrast to previous research, which identifies top-down, bottom-up and outside-in models of reform, we show that government officials can engage in transformation from within their own ranks. Specifically, we examine how Brazilian prosecutors evolved from a low profile assemblage of transient and politically dependent prosecutors into one of the most autonomous and authoritative public agencies in the country. We find that they created cohesion among their ranks, lobbied incessantly, and crafted alliances that nonetheless keep their options open. Thanks to this responsive and pragmatic strategy, they took full advantage of ongoing turbulence in Brazilian politics: whenever the opportunity context expanded, they advanced their cause; whenever the context contracted, they strengthened their mobilizing structures and protected their gains. While previous research looks at one transition at a time, this longitudinal study shows the heterogeneous strategies of long-term reform.

Manhattan moves, even with the Pope.

Manhattan moves, even with the Pope.
Mitchell L. Moss, Sam Levy, Jorge Hernandez, Jeff Ferzoco and Sarah M. Kaufman. "Manhattan moves, even with the Pope." NYU Rudin Center for Transportation, September 22, 2015.

Mitchell L. Moss, Sam Levy, Jorge Hernandez, Jeff Ferzoco and Sarah M. Kaufman

Pope Francis’ visit to the United States is an historic event that will disrupt life in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., but not in New York City. In Washington D.C., federal government workers are being advised to telecommute. Philadelphia is towing cars and shutting down roads and transit in the event area. For New Yorkers, the Papal visit will limit mobility in some parts of Manhattan, but only for limited time periods. With the nation’s largest subway system and municipal police department, New York is accustomed to large-scale events and high-profile visitors like the Dalai Lama, the President of the United States and foreign leaders coming to the United Nations.

The Role of Design-Build Procurement

The Role of Design-Build Procurement
Rudin Center for Transportation, sponsored by RBC Capital Markets and the Association for a Better New York


In 2011, the New York State Legislature approved and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the New York State Infrastructure Investment Act. The new law authorized five state agencies – the Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the New York State Thruway Authority, and the New York State Bridge Authority – to manage the delivery of construction projects using a method known in the industry as “Design-Build.”

Design-Build is a form of project delivery in which a public agency or private sector owner enters into a single contract with a single entity (usually a construction firm) that takes full responsibility for both design and construction of the project. The 2011 law also authorized the five agencies to hire firms based on qualifications and innovation, not just the lowest bid.

When used appropriately, Design-Build can effectively reduce the time required to complete a project, reduce the cost of a project, provide clearer accountability for a project, and encourage more innovation in design and construction.

Renting in America’s Largest Cities

Renting in America’s Largest Cities
Conducted by the NYU Furman Center & commissioned by Capital One National Affordable Rental Housing Landscape

Sean Capperis, Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Brian Karfunkel

The supply of affordable rental housing failed to keep pace with demand in the 11 largest U.S. cities while rents rose faster than household incomes in five of the them. The NYU Furman Center/Capital One National Affordable Housing Landscape examines rental housing affordability trends in the central cities of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston, Atlanta and Miami) from 2006 to 2013 and illustrates how these trends affected renters as more households chose to rent amid rising rental costs.

Nine of the 11 largest U.S. cities have seen falling vacancy rates and rising rents, which are hurting lower- and middle-income renters. “Affordable” rent should comprise less than 30 percent of a household’s income. With the exception of Dallas and Houston, the average renter in each metropolitan area could not afford the majority of recently available rental units in their city. The cities were even less affordable to low-income renters, who could afford no more than 11 percent of recently available units in the most affordable cities.

Since 2006, there has been an increase in the share of low- and moderate-income renters who are severely rent-burdened— meaning they face rent and utility costs equal to at least half of their income. In 2013, over a quarter of moderate-income renters were severely rent-burdened in seven of the cities in the study, while a significant majority of low-income renters in all 11 cities were severely rent-burdened. The percentage of low-income renters facing severe rent-burdens continued to rise in each of these cities and low-income renters are often most acutely impacted by the lack of affordable housing.

The study also found that in five cities, the proportion of moderate-income renters experiencing severe rent burdens grew remarkably, while in other cities, the situation for moderate-income renters either changed little or even improved.

The State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods in 2014

The State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods in 2014
NYU Furman Center. NYU School of Law and NYU Wagner School of Public Service.

Ingrid Gould Ellen, et al.

The State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods in 2014 report, published annually by the NYU Furman Center, provides a compendium of data and analysis about New York City’s housing, land use, demographics, and quality of life indicators for each borough and the city’s 59 community districts.

The report combines timely and expert analysis of NYU Furman Center researchers with data transparency. It is presented in three parts:

Part 1: Focus on Density

Each year, the State of the City report describes, contextualizes, and provides analysis on a pressing and policy-relevant issue affecting New York City. In 2014, the report focuses on the evolution of density in New York City’s neighborhoods over time, whether this evolution has been accompanied by changes in New Yorkers’ quality of life, and how the city might accommodate future population growth.

Part 2: City-Wide Analysis

The City-Wide Analysis provides a broad, longitudinal analysis of the New York City's housing and neighborhoods. The chapter is divided into five parts: land use and the built environment; homeowners and their homes; renters and their homes; residents; and neighborhood services and conditions.

Part 3: City, Borough, and Community District Data

The data section provides current and historical statistics for over 50 housing, neighborhood, and socioeconomic indicators at the city, borough, and community district levels. It also includes indicator definitions and rankings; methods; and an index of New York City’s community districts and sub-borough areas.

Walking, Obesity and Urban Design in Chinese Neighborhoods

Walking, Obesity and Urban Design in Chinese Neighborhoods
Preventive Medicine, Vol. 39, supp., pp. S799-S85

Alfonzo, M., Z. Guo, L. Lin, and K. Day

Objective: We examined the connections (1) between the design of the built environment and walking, (2) between the design of the built environment and obesity, and (3) between walking and obesity and income in urban settings in China. 

Methods: Six neighborhoods with different built environment characteristics, located in the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Hangzhou, were studied. Data on walking and other physical activity and obesity levels from 1070 residents were collected through a street intercept survey conducted in 2013. Built environment features of 527 street segments were documented using the Irvine–Minnesota Inventory-China (IMI-C) environmental audit. Data were analyzed using the State of Place™ Index. 

Results: Walking rates, household income and Body Mass Index (BMI) were related; neighborhoods with a higher State of Place™ Index were associated with higher rates of walking. 

Conclusion: This study began to establish an evidence base for the association of built environment features with walking in the context of Chinese urban design. Findings confirmed that the associations between “walkable” built environment features and walking established in existing research in other countries, also held true in the case of Chinese neighborhoods.


Subscribe to Urban Planning