Academics

Furman Center Receives MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions

Furman Center Receives MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named NYU's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy a recipient of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. This distinguished award recognizes the Furman Center's excellence in providing objective, policy-relevant research to address the challenges facing neighborhoods in New York City and across the nation. The award, announced on February 16, comes with a grant of $1 million, which the Furman Center will use to broaden its research and policy analysis to more national issues.

"We are humbled and honored that the Furman Center was selected for such a prestigious award," said Vicki Been, faculty director of the Furman Center. "The demand for our work has grown dramatically with the housing crisis and the increasing need for sustainable and affordable housing across the country. This award presents a remarkable opportunity for us to expand our research beyond New York City to help policymakers in Washington and across the nation make more effective housing and community development investments and policies."

"Because we are based at New York University, and are a joint project of the NYU School of Law and the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, we're able to draw on the talents of a diverse team of faculty and students to produce rigorous, interdisciplinary research on urban policy issues," Furman Center Co-Director Ingrid Gould Ellen said. "The MacArthur Award comes at a critical time, allowing us to continue to expand the work we've always done in New York City to cities and neighborhoods across the country, and to address a broader range of national issues and public policy debates."

From analyses of how subsidized housing investments affect neighborhoods, to studies of the impacts the foreclosure crisis has had on local crime, neighboring property values, tenants, and the educational trajectories of children, the Furman Center has been committed to producing objective and empirically rigorous research on pressing policy issues. Its policy breakfasts, roundtable discussions, and conferences bring thought leaders from all sectors and all points of view together to discuss topics ranging from new models for housing extremely low-income households to creative ways of addressing credit needs in a volatile and declining housing market. The Center launched an Institute for Affordable Housing Policy in 2010 to bring research, policy analysis, and debate about promising new ideas and innovative practices to bear on the challenges of creating cost-effective affordable housing programs. Through its annual State of New York City's Housing and Neighborhoods report, Quarterly Housing Updates, and Subsidized Housing Information Project, the Center provides essential data and analysis for the media, government agencies, non-profit housing providers, and affordable housing developers and financiers.

The award is both a recognition of the excellence of the Furman Center's prior research and policy analysis and an investment in the Furman Center's future. The Furman Center will use the grant to build data and research partnerships that will allow it to broaden the geographic scope of its research, strengthen and expand its policy analysis, and improve its communications and data management infrastructure.

More information, including an overview video about the Furman Center, is available here.

The Furman Center is one of only 15 organizations from six countries to be recognized today with the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. "From Chicago to Kampala, these extraordinary organizations demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness," said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci. "They provide new ways to address old problems. They generate provocative ideas and they reframe well-worn debates. And their impact is altogether disproportionate to their size."

The MacArthur Foundation does not seek or accept nominations for its Creative and Effective Institutions awards. To qualify, organizations must demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness; have reached a critical or strategic point in their development; show strong leadership and stable financial management; have previously received MacArthur support; and engage in work central to one of MacArthur's core programs.

 

 

Furman Center Sees Sharp Rise in Sub-prime Mortgages in NYC

Furman Center Sees Sharp Rise in Sub-prime Mortgages in NYC

In October, 2007, the website Gotham Gazette interviewed NYU Wagner Professor Ingrid Ellen and NYU School of Law Professor Vicki Been about "2006 State of New York City Housing and Neighborhoods," a widely cited report of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy operated jointly by Wagner and the Law School. As the Q@A reflects (click below), the Center has found a dramatic increase in subprime loans to individuals with problematic credit histories, as well as high rates of foreclosures in some parts of the city. Professor Ellen, Co-director of the Furman Center (Professor Been is Director), also addressed the issue of subprime mortgages and their impact on minority communities at an Oct. 4, 2007, forum at the Wagner School with Sarah Gerecke, CEO, Neighborhood Housing Services of NYC. That forum, "Risking the American Dream," was sponsored by the Students of African Descent Alliance Wagner Student Group. On October 15, the New York Times featured an article on the Furman Center analysis on sub-prime lending, entitled "Racial Disparity Found Among New Yorkers with High-Rate Mortgages." The Times also published an editorial on the Furman Center analysis in the Oct. 17 edition.

Gara LaMarche of The Atlantic Philanthropies To Become NYU Wagner Senior Fellow

Gara LaMarche of The Atlantic Philanthropies To Become NYU Wagner Senior Fellow

Gara LaMarche, President and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies, will take up the position of Senior Fellow at NYU Wagner upon leaving the Atlantic helm in September, 2011.

LaMarche, an adjunct professor of public administration at Wagner, recently announced he will not seek a second five-year term at the helm of The Atlantic Philanthropies, one of the most effective and admired organizations in philanthropy.

Before joining The Atlantic Philanthropies in 2007, LaMarche was Vice President and Director of U.S. Programs for the Open Society Institute (OSI) from 1996 to 2007 and Associate Director of Human Rights Watch and Director of its Free Expression Project from 1990 to 1996.

Global EMPA Student Jayson Browder Selected as Carnegie New Leader

Global EMPA Student Jayson Browder Selected as Carnegie New Leader

Jayson Browder, a student in NYU Wagner’s Global Executive MPA program, has been named a prestigious Carnegie New Leader by the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

He joins a select group of future public service leaders in the international field who will develop their skills through seminars, formal events, online dialogue, and analysis opportunities. The fellows also will have access to a platform to promote ethics in the global issues in which they are involved.

For Browder, a highly accomplished military veteran, the Carnegie New Leaders fellowship complements the courses he's taking at NYU Wagner, “as well as the core values Wagner instills in all its students,” he explained. He is thrilled to join an esteemed community of business professionals, policy makers, social innovators, and scholars who are changing the way global ethics are approached in the 21st century.

Browder is currently an MPA candidate in the joint Global Executive MPA degree program of NYU Wagner and University College London. He is a multi-decorated U.S. Air Force and Iraq veteran and a U.S. Fulbright Scholar. While serving as a Fulbright Scholar, he was assigned as a U.S. Cultural Ambassador to Turkey with the goal of promoting cross-cultural awareness. Additionally, he served as an adjunct academic faculty member, providing research on the Syrian conflict, Turkish and Iranian relations, and U.S. foreign policy at Bayburt University.

He previously served as a legislative assistant for Military Affairs in the U.S. House of Representatives and as an adjunct junior fellow at the American Security Project. His analysis on national security and foreign policy issues has been published in numerous media and think tank organizations such as Asia Times, NPR, Foreign Policy Journal, the Partnership for a Secure America, and the Truman National Security Project. He holds a BA in Sociology and Latin American Studies from Fordham University.

Global Experts Offer First Look at New Research on Microfinance

Global Experts Offer First Look at New Research on Microfinance

More than 200 researchers, practitioners and business leaders convened in New York City for a first look at research results on the impact of microfinance. The Microfinance Impact and Innovation Conference 2010, co-hosted by the Financial Access Initiative (FAI) at NYU Wagner and other leading research and financial institutions, was held Thursday, October 21st; 22nd; and 23rd at headquarters of the Deutsche Bank and the Moody's Corporation.

The research presented at the Conference follows on the heels of an initial report, released in 2009, about the first-ever randomized evaluations of microfinance, which sparked a debate over whether and how much microfinance is helping the poor. The results of several follow-up studies presented at the latest Microfinance Impact and Innovation Conference offer fresh insights on how and to what degree microfinance affects the lives of poor households around the world.

"The results of the first microfinance impact evaluations were controversial because the world was eager to find that one magic bullet that will finally "solve" poverty," said Esther Duflo, co-author of one of the first-ever impact evaluations of microfinance in India, and professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "The studies showed that microfinance is not magic. But while we didn't discover that microfinance launches people out of poverty, we did discover that it's making a very real difference to some people. The new, forthcoming research will help us discover more about who benefits from microfinance and help us design financial products that work better for the poor."

The Microfinance Impact and Innovation Conference 2010 attracted senior researchers, policymakers, practitioners and investors committed to preparing the next generation of thinkers and leaders in microfinance, and to the global expansion of financial markets in poor communities. The event was hosted by not only the Financial Access Initiative (FAI), but also by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Moody's Corporation, Deutsche Bank and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP).

Important new impact results from a randomized evaluation of a microfinance program in Morocco were aired, along with evaluations of microsavings and microinsurance, and livelihood programs for the "ultra poor." Conference sessions were devoted to the presentation of new research on microfinance product design, social performance measurement, and consumer protection. Additionally, illuminating sessions were dedicated to bringing together researchers and practitioners to design future research on product design and financial inclusion that will help usher in the next generation of services for the "bottom billion."

 

Global Research Institute names Natasha Iskander as Research Fellow

Global Research Institute names Natasha Iskander as Research Fellow

Natasha Iskander, assistant professor of public policy at NYU Wagner, has been named a research fellow at the Global Research Institute at the University of North Carolina.

Professor Iskander conducts research on labor migration and its relationship to economic development, labor mobilization, and processes of institutional innovation and organizational learning. She recently authored Creative State: Forty Years of Migration and Development in Morocco and Mexico (Cornell University Press: 2010), which examines how nations' governments elaborated policies to build a link between labor emigration and local economic development.

There are six 2011-'12 Global Research Institute fellows, the second cohort to receive research support from the Institute. The focus this year is the theme of immigration. The fellows' work contributes to the development of policy recommendations designed to keep North Carolina competitive on a national and global level.

 

GovLoop/NASPAA Scholarship Competition - Part II

GovLoop/NASPAA Scholarship Competition - Part II

Brian Footer

NYU Wagner has not just one, but two finalists in the national Public Service Scholarship essay-writing competition sponsored by the GovLoop social network for government and the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. He's Brian Footer, who is working toward an MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy with a specialization in Financial Management.

Way to go, Brian!

Brian is one of 15 finalists. His essay was chosen from more than 170 submissions by judges from GovLoop and NASPAA. In the next and last phase of the competition, the three winning pieces on how to prioritize federal sending in fiscally constrained times will be picked by the GovLoop network of more than 50,000 members in an online vote, and will be eligible for a scholarship award of as much as $2,500.

"If the U.S. government had only $100 million left in the budget," Brian's thoughtful and well crafted submission begins, "I would begin devising a grant program to direct money to local governments in the pursuit of assisting the most fragile and disenfranchised populations. I believe government's inherent social value is establishing services essential to provide basic human needs. This, however, is not a mandate for government to deliver services. Rather, government should be a coordinator of parties and resources, and no one understands the unique demands of each geographic community better than local government."

The piece goes on to explain how the locally guided grant process would work.

Brian's own career as a passionate public servant is more than 10 years in the making.

He moved to New York City to work on Christine C. Quinn's successful campaign for re-election as City Council Speaker, and later served as the Speaker's Scheduler. Prior to arriving in the city, he lived in Washington, D.C., and worked on Capitol Hill, for the Democratic Governors Association as a fund raiser, and for the US Tax Court as a Clerk.

He is now a Legislative Policy Analyst to the New York City Council's Committee on Aging and Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Brian volunteers his time at the Abzyme Research Foundation, helping to advocate for development of abzyme technology in hopes of producing the world's first effective HIV vaccine and improved treatments. After two years of effort and dedication toward developing a small-donor program, Brian is a member of the Board of Directors.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Prelaw from Ohio University.

 

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