Furman Center wins prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions

On February 16, the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions in recognition of its excellence in providing policymakers with objective, relevant research to address pressing issues for neighborhoods in New York City and nationwide. The award’s $1 million grant will allow the Furman Center to expand its research and policy analysis focus beyond New York City.

Robert Galluci, president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, said that the 15 honored organizations “demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness. 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 demand for our work has grown dramatically with the housing crisis and the increasing need for sustainable and affordable housing across the country,” said Vicki Been ’83, Boxer Family Professor of Law and faculty director of the Furman Center. “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.”

Since its founding in 1995, the Furman Center, a joint effort of the Law School and the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, has become a leading academic research center for the public policy aspects of land use, real estate development, and housing. The center has examined the effect of subsidized housing investments on neighborhoods; the impact of the foreclosure crisis on crime, property values, tenants, and education; innovative ways to address credit needs in a volatile and declining housing market; local governments’ transformation of foreclosed properties into community assets; and a host of other issues. In 2010 it launched the Institute for Affordable Housing Policy to address the challenges of creating cost-effective affordable housing programs.

The Furman Center will use the funds to broaden its geographic scope beyond New York City by allowing it to collect data in multiple cities and address a broader set of policy challenges, as well as to strengthen and expand its policy analysis and improve its communications and data management.

“The MacArthur Award comes at a critical time,” said Ingrid Gould Ellen, the center’s co-director, “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.”