This interdisciplinary seminar brings together law, urban planning and public policy students to analyze historic and current trends in affordable housing, community development, land use, and housing finance. We use New York City as a laboratory that is both unique from, and similar to, other American cities. The course focuses on housing/community development policy, real estate and mortgage financing, subsidies, community participation, environmental impact, and neighborhood change such as gentrification and displacement, with particular emphasis on how issues of race, poverty, and the economic climate affect federal, state, local and community responses. We will discuss the causes and consequences of government intervention in housing and neighborhoods, developing tools for students to determine the need for public intervention, the optimal design and financing of housing and community development programs, and how to evaluate success.
The most important course responsibility is completion of a group project among two to four students with a mix of Law and Wagner students on each paper. Each student must contribute to the group to create a fully-integrated and collaborative final project. Students will work on a cutting-edge issue in New York City land use, housing or community development requiring research, interviews with key stakeholders and thoughtful policy and legal recommendations. The grade will be based upon class participation, a financial exercise, the group project paper and a group presentation. A field trip to local neighborhoods is planned.
The course will be taught by Sarah Gerecke, former Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Jerry Salama, a developer of affordable housing in Harlem and former Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.