Furman Center

NYC Housing Agency Taps Wagner Alumnus/Adjunct for Top Post

NYC Housing Agency Taps Wagner Alumnus/Adjunct for Top Post

A recent NYU Wagner graduate and current adjunct assistant professor of public administration, David Quart, has been named to a senior-level post in the housing agency of the New York City government.

Quart's new position, effective in early May, is Chief of Staff and Deputy Commissioner of Strategy, Evaluation and Communications at the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development.

He has previously worked in a senior management capacity for the city's Economic Development Corporation, a quasi-public organization that works to encourage economic growth throughout New York City, and for AKRF Inc., a leading environmental, planning, and engineering consulting firm.

Quart's selection adds to a growing list of people in the Wagner community who have been recruited by the new city administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio.




NYC Housing Commissioner Vicki Been Discusses Affordable Housing Initiative at Urban Policy Forum

NYC Housing Commissioner Vicki Been Discusses Affordable Housing Initiative at Urban Policy Forum

Vicki Been returned to NYU Wagner to discuss her role at the helm the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the ambitious city program to build and preserve 200,000 affordable apartment units in a decade’s time.

The eagerly-anticipated 2015 Henry Hart Rice Urban Policy Forum drew a capacity crowd of more than 150 students, researchers, policy makers, advocates, and developers on April 7. Commissioner Been was familiar to many in the audience as Professor of Law at the NYU School of Law and Associated Professor of Public Policy at NYU Wagner. She was interviewed by Ingrid Gould Ellen, Professor of Urban Planning and Policy at NYU Wagner. Until Been's appointment approximately a year ago, she had collaborated closely with Professor Ellen at the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, a joint endeavor of the Law School and Wagner.

As the evening discussions began, Mitchell Moss, the Henry Hart Rice Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at Wagner, welcomed Commissioner Been, noting her shift from academia to what another New Yorker, Theodore Roosevelt, once described as the “arena” of policy making. “She is the woman in the arena,” he said.

The arena, and the goal of the five-borough "Housing New York" program that she is stewarding, can only be described as challenging, if not daunting. In New York, according to data from the Furman Center, 54 percent of renter households devote at least 30 percent of their income to rent currently, compared to 42 percent of renter households in 2000. In addition to Housing New York's preservation aspects, the program calls for the building of 80,000 new units for low- and moderate-income households within 10 years. That's double the average rate of new construction of the past 20 years, and must be accomplished in a city where publicly owned property and vacant lots are scarce and building-related costs have skyrocketed.

“It’s an enormous scope,” Commissioner Been explained in reference to the new initiative, “not because we wanted it to be ‘big and bold,’ but because that’s what is required to meet the affordable housing crisis of the city.”

Among the policymaking approaches she touched upon are HPD's use of comprehensive planning across city agencies to address open-space, mobility, recreation, and education needs in the neighborhoods where affordable-housing preservation and development are planned; strategic efforts to prevent displacement; drawing direction from neighborhood-based data and community interaction; helping owners of small buildings to navigate red tape and obtain financial help; and encouraging developers to include within their market-rate developments the affordable-rate units required for tax subsidies.

“It costs more to build [the affordable units] on site. On the other hand, the point of Mayor de Blasio’s administration is to reduce income inequality,” the Commissioner said.

NYU Furman Center's www.PlanNYC.org is named 'Top Website'

NYU Furman Center's www.PlanNYC.org is named 'Top Website'

Planetizen.com, the leading news and information website for the planning, design and development community, has placed NYU Furman Center's www.PlanNYC.org on its list of the top 10 online resources for 2007.

The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy's website was originally designed by Jordan Anderson as part of his NYU Master of Urban Planning Capstone project at NYU Wagner, under the supervision of Professor Mitchell Moss.

A complete urban planning web portal for citizens interested in housing and development in New York City, PlanNYC.org is currently managed by a team of NYU Wagner and School of Law students headed up by Wagner Master of Urban Planning student Grant Poujade.

According to www.planetizen.com, the web site allows users to sort information by development project or neighborhood, and doesn't play favorites regarding certain perspectives - all points of view are offered.PlanNYC stands as an excellent model for local community planning portals.

The NYU Furman Center (furmancenter@nyu.edu) is directed by Vicki Been, the Elihu Root Professor of Law. Ingrid Gould Ellen, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Planning, is the Co-Director of the Center. More than 15 faculty from the Law School, the Wagner School and NYU's Faculty of Arts and Sciences are involved in the Furman Center's work.

For more information on the Top 10 Websites, click here.


NYU Wagner Alumna Sally Greenspan chosen as "40 under 40" rising star in the nonprofit sector

NYU Wagner Alumna Sally Greenspan chosen as "40 under 40" rising star in the nonprofit sector

NYU Wagner alumna Sally Greenspan (MUP, 2011) has been chosen by New York Nonprofit Media as one of its “40 under 40” rising stars in the nonprofit sector.

Ms. Greenspan’s work at Enterprise Community Partners, a national affordable housing organization, will be recognized and celebrated at a dinner Nov. 19 in midtown Manhattan, along with the efforts of the other honorees.

A highly valued member of the Wagner community, her enduring ties to the school continue to benefit her public service career. She was a research assistant at the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy while studying for her degree.

“The Wagner alumni network is unparalleled in NYC – I cannot overstate how often I connect with other alumni in my normal course of business, as well as with professors,” she explained. “I often run into friends or acquaintances from Wagner in meetings.  And I even have the pleasure of working on projects with them.”

NYU Wagner congratulates the Class of 2009, and celebrates Convocation at BAM

NYU Wagner congratulates the Class of 2009, and celebrates Convocation at BAM

In a Convocation speech to Wagner's Class of 2009, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan said he attended the 1977 World Series game when sports commentator Howard Cosell, observing a column of rising smoke in the vicinity of Yankee Stadium, told a national television audience, "Ladies and gentleman, the Bronx is burning." The wave of arson, crime, and abandonment afflicting much of New York City less than two years after the city government had narrowly avoided municipal bankruptcy captured Donovan's attention even then, as an 11 year old baseball enthusiast. And it's probably no accident that as someone who came of age in the 1970s and '80s in New York, he went on to devote his education and distinguished public career to understanding and innovating policy steps that helped rescue and transform New York and many other American cities in the wake of that "urban catastrophe."

Donovan quoted former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton in addressing the proud and excited graduates and their families gathered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 15: "Public service is not just a way of life, it is a way to live life fully."

According to Donovan, the rise of New York and the restoration of its once-strained civic bonds show that public-sector work - his own path-has enormous potential value, even though the challenges were amply demonstrated by the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. Citing President Obama's call to service, as well as his recently signed national service bill, Donovan said the mission of public employees and others embarked on public service work of all kinds is to give us "a reason to believe in public service again"  in our neighborhoods and across the nation and world.

"Wagner Class of 2009," Donovan said, "we need you to make it possible to believe again!...Together, we can put our shoulder up against the wheel and change the course of history."

Dean Ellen Schall enumerated the impressive accomplishments of the graduating students and faculty members, including Professors of the Year Shanna Rose and Anthony Kovner. She contended that the work of public service requires more than technical and analytical capabilities, as critical as those are, but also "artistry," saying, "Public service is as much about art as about science." Artistry is what is required to find bold new answers to problems that resist technical solutions, whether those are ending poverty, overcoming racism, ensuring equal health outcomes for all, creating public school systems that work, or building cities that are sustainable.

The dean told the graduates that she wrote an essay for the Convocation as if she were applying for admission to the school. She based her thoughts on a photograph she selected from a catalogue of visual images, just as many Wagner applicants are asked to do. The image she selected was that of a person bringing a pot to life on a pottery wheel, as it reminded her of an introduction to pottery class she took last fall.

"I showed up every Monday night from 6-9, much the way you showed up for a class," she told the graduates. "And it was very hard. It was the worst in the class, a fact clear to me and to everyone else. Yet I stayed and kept on trying. I knew there was learning in the trying, in sticking with what didn't come easily. I never actually cracked the code or became a potter. Yet at the end, I have these small little pieces of ‘pottery' in my house and the odd thing is, I display them...and they make me smile when I walk in. They remind me to take myself seriously, but not too seriously, to stretch even in the face of initial resistance, mine or others, to find pleasure in small wins."  

She referred to the image on a large screen on the BAM stage.

"This captures a simple visual image that I wish for each of you as you go forth. That you embrace the boldness of seeing yourself as artists, as creators and change makers, as people who bring passion and the fullness of yourselves to the critically important challenges of public service. And that you have the discipline and energy and commitment to keep on going, even if you don't get it right the first time around, that you learn from what works as well as what doesn't, and that you find joy in small things as well as big moves."

Michael C. Alfano, executive vice president of New York University, offered spirited welcoming remarks, while class speaker Tracey Gardner, who earned an MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy, introduced Donovan, noting, "He's not beaten down, not jaded, and ever on the lookout for policy changes to improve how things are done and make our lives better."



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