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Research on Environmental and Land Use Law

NYU School of Law’s research programs on environmental and land use regulation are organized by two research centers.The Center on Environmental and Land Use Law, directed by Professor Stewart, brings together four major areas of research: the Program on International Environmental Law, directed by Professor Stewart; the Program on Environmental Regulation, directed by Dean Revesz; the Program on Common Property Resources, directed by Professor Wyman; and the Program on Land Use Law, directed by Professor Been. The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, directed by Professor Schill, focuses on the legal and public policy aspects of real estate development and the provision of affordable housing, with particular emphasis on the special challenges those issues pose in New York City.
The two Centers enable faculty, students, and research fellows to collaborate on a wide variety of research projects designed to provide the empirical and theoretical basis for the next generation of environmental and land use regulation.

NYU School of Law’s research programs on environmental and land use regulation are organized by two research centers.The Center on Environmental and Land Use Law, directed by Professor Stewart, brings together four major areas of research: the Program on International Environmental Law, directed by Professor Stewart; the Program on Environmental Regulation, directed by Dean Revesz; the Program on Common Property Resources, directed by Professor Wyman; and the Program on Land Use Law, directed by Professor Been. The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, directed by Professor Schill, focuses on the legal and public policy aspects of real estate development and the provision of affordable housing, with particular emphasis on the special challenges those issues pose in New York City.
The two Centers enable faculty, students, and research fellows to collaborate on a wide variety of research projects designed to provide the empirical and theoretical basis for the next generation of environmental and land use regulation.

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Program on International Environmental Law

Project on International Regulatory Conflicts Over Genetically Modified Crops and Foods

Global conflicts in trade and regulation of bioengineered foods and crops containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are being addressed through a three-year research project by the Center on Environmental and Land Use Law under the leadership of Professor Stewart. The most dramatic example of such conflict is the case recently filed by the United States against the E.U. before the World Trade Organization (WTO), complaining that the E.U. (driven by public opposition to GMOs) has shut out exportsof transgenic U.S. soy, corn, and other crops that have been modified with genes to make the crops resistant to pests and herbicides. The E.U. defends its GMO regulations based on potential environmental and health risks and the uncertainties posed by the new agricultural biotechnologies. Proponents of GMO crops contend that they provide significant economic and environmental benefits (including reduced use of chemical pesticides) and are not fundamentally different from other agricultural technologies, such as the use of hybridization techniques to create new “Green Revolution” crop varieties, that are widely accepted. GMO regulatory issues are an emerging concern in many other countries, including developing countries faced with the need to feed growing populations that look to GMO technologies to enhance crop yields, but that are concerned about potential risks.

The project, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, involves NYU students as well as researchers from 10 different countries around the world. It was launched by Stewart; Professor Philippe Sands of the University of London, former Global Law Faculty member at the Law School; and the late Professor Nelkin, University Professor and member of the Law School faculty. Jane Bloom Stewart (’79), director of the Center’s International Environmental Legal Assistance Program, is also participating in the project. The project will issue a report proposing options and recommendations for managing international GMO regulatory conflicts so as to minimize damage to the international trade governance system, and ensure that countries, especially developing countries, have the legal and other capacities to make their own informed judgment about the appropriate role of GMO technologies.

The project is conducting studies of GMO regulatory policies in 10 different jurisdictions, including the United States, E.U., Switzerland, Japan, China, India, Kenya, South Africa, Costa Rica, and Brazil. NYU School of Law students have contributed research on GMO regulatory policies in Mexico and Egypt, and on international trade and GMO regulation in China. In addition, students in the project-related seminar on Law, New Technologies, and Risk, taught by Nelkin and Stewart (see p. 36), contributed papers on GMO food-labeling controversies, GMO-related issues of intellectual property rights for crop products in India and the United States, and the regulation of transgenic animals. The project has also completed a published study on the “Starlink” controversy, in which GMO corn that had regulatory approval for use solely in animal feed ended up in taco shells for human consumption. Through these studies, the project seeks to understand the roots of international conflicts in the divergent economic, political, social, and cultural factors that affect policies toward food and agricultural and GMO regulation in different countries.

In addition, Sands and Stewart are addressing the principles of international law and the institutions of international governance for dealing with such conflicts, including the principles and procedures used by the WTO for resolving GMO trade/regulation disputes; the role of the Biosafety Protocol to the Biodiversity Convention, which regulates international transfers of GMO crop and food products; and the activities of the Codex Alimentarius, an international body that sets safety standards for food and plant products. The roles of environmental and consumer organizations, groups representing the interests of developing countries and farmers, and business in international regulatory governance of GMOs are also being examined. Important issues being addressed by the project include the extent to which countries should be allowed, consistent with international trade rules, to invoke a “precautionary principle” to ban or restrict GMO products in the absence of specific scientific evidence that they pose a significant risk of harm, and the extent to which countries can invoke cultural or social values (for example, the desire to preserve traditional agricultural practices or foods) to justify such restrictions.

The project, initiated in 2002, recently held a meeting at the Rockefeller Foundation villa in Bellagio, Italy. The project leaders and researchers were joined by a group of international advisers, including important figures from government, environmental and consumer groups, and industry in the United States, Europe, and developing countries.

International Environmental Legal Assistance Program

NYU School of Law’s International Environmental Legal Assistance Program, directed by Jane Stewart, enlists NYU School of Law faculty, students, and outside experts to provide assistance to developing countries in strengthening and better enforcing their environmental and land use laws and policies. The Program has conducted major projects in China and Eastern Europe; Law School students have been significantly involved in research, law drafting, policy development, and other legal assistance activities of the projects. The Program is currently launching a major new project, funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), to assist four countries in the Danube region of Central and Eastern Europe to promote public access to environmental information. The Program provided legal assistance over a four-year period to the Environmental and Natural Resources Protection Committee of China’s National People’s Congress to revise and strengthen China’s environmental, land, and natural resources protection laws. Student work contributed to the enactment of a new land administration law and a significantly strengthened water pollution prevention and control law for China.

[SIDEBAR: Fellow Manages Hungary/Slovenia Project]

Recently, the Program successfully completed a two-year pilot project to assist government officials and environmental groups in Hungary and Slovenia to improve public access to environmental information and public participation in decision-making, with a special emphasis on water pollution issues. Isaac Flattau (’00), the Center’s first legal fellow, assisted Jane Stewart in directing the project. Law School students contributed research and helped develop legal options for improving public involvement in environmental decision-making in these countries. The pilot project was funded by GEF and implemented in partnership with the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe and Resources for the Future.

Based on the success of the pilot program, the Program and its partners were invited by GEF to create a similar, follow-on project to improve public access to environmental information in support of public participation in four other Central and Eastern European countries in the Danube River Basin. GEF recently approved the expanded project and provided $2 million to finance it; work is expected to begin in Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro in late 2003 and will continue through 2006. NYU School of Law students will play a significant role in the new project.

water imageThe Danube has suffered extensive contamination by discharges of nutrients and toxics. These discharges, including discharges from the Danube countries involved in the GEF projects, have significant transboundary impacts, including contamination of downstream reaches of the river and the Black Sea. The pilot project was designed to enable Hungary and Slovenia to provide better public access to Danube and other water-related environmental information, thereby increasing opportunities for informed public involvement in efforts to reduce discharges to the Danube River Basin. Experience in the United States, Western Europe, and elsewhere demonstrates that enhancing public access to environmental information promotes, through a variety of mechanisms, more effective environmental protection. Hungary and Slovenia, like the four other Danube River Basin countries that will participate in the new Follow-On Project, are in economic and political transition and currently experience significant barriers to effective pubic access to information, including the legacy of state secrecy and public passivity from prior undemocratic regimes; inadequate laws, implementing regulations, and guidance to public officials; and lack of government and NGO know-how.

Among these barriers, government and NGO participants from both pilot project countries agreed that the lack of guidance to government officials and their broad discretion to decide whether and how to provide water-related environmental information was a priority problem. The pilot project assisted Hungary and Slovenia in developing practical and effective measures to overcome these barriers, through a two-year program of capacity building and technical assistance. The project also assisted them in implementing the Aarhus Convention, a U.N.-sponsored international agreement to promote public access to environmental information and participation in environmental decision-making to which Hungary and Slovenia are parties. The measures developed through the pilot project for Hungary include a handbook for government officials who are responsible for providing environmental information to the public that explains how to carry out their responsibilities to provide this information. A similar measure, a set of guidelines for public officials, was developed for Slovenia. In addition, the pilot project developed recommendations for reforms of Slovenia’s current laws to improve public access to environmental information and a citizens’ guide to accessing water-related environmental information in Hungary. The project brought nine Hungarian and Slovenian representatives to the Law School and to Washington, D.C., for two weeks in Spring 2001. All project resource materials and measures developed through the project can be accessed on the Web site, REC/Programs/PublicParticipation/Danube Information/Outputs.html, which was created to help disseminate the results of the project.

The Follow-On Project in Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Serbia will be based on the successful experience gained in the pilot project in Hungary and Slovenia and will be directly linked to a larger, GEF-funded effort to restore and clean up the Danube River.

Global Administrative Law Project

Professors Kingsbury and Stewart are launching a major new NYU School of Law research Project on Global Administrative Law under the auspices of the Institute for International Law and Justice with the participation of the Center on Environmental and Land Use Law. The project will enlist NYU School of Law students and leading academics from around the world to help develop and shape an entirely new field of law — global administrative law — in order to promote greater public accountability and participation with respect to the decisions of international authorities in environmental and other regulatory fields.

[SIDEBAR: Stewart on Administrative Fatigue and Revivification]

Increasingly, decisions by international organizations, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank, and by informal coordinating networks of national governmental officials in fields such as antitrust, telecommunications, and food and drug regulation, have significant social, economic, and environmental impacts in the context of intensified globalization at both the domestic and international levels. For example, some decisions by the WTO have held that domestic environmental regulatory measures in the United States and other countries are inconsistent with international free trade rules. In addition, the rules for implementing important international environmental treaties, such as the Kyoto Protocol, Convention on Trade in Endangered Species, and the Biosafety Protocol to the Convention of Biodiversity, are established by international bodies. Yet, these decisions are made with only imperfect political accountability to domestic governments and their citizens. The project will consider whether techniques of administrative law, including procedural and participation requirements for decision-making and review mechanisms, could be a workable and desirable means of promoting greater accountability for international regulatory decisions. This goal might be accomplished by extending domestic administrative law requirements and procedures to international regulatory decisions, or by creating new bodies of administrative law at the international level. These arrangements will also have to take account of the important role of non-governmental organizations and multinational businesses in international regulatory governance.

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The intellectual foundations for the project include prior work on accountability by the Institute for International Law and Justice, and a lecture by Stewart on Administrative Law in the 21st Century, delivered last fall on the occasion of his installation as the John Edward Sexton Professor of Law, which emphasizes international administrative law as an emerging major new field (see p. 43). The project will be conducted over several years, and will include the research and publication of a major scholarly book as well as workshops and an international conference on the subject of global administrative law. NYU School of Law students will be engaged in all phases of the project. For example, global administrative law will be the focus of this coming Spring’s Law School Colloquium on Globalization and Its Discontents, taught by Kingsbury and Stewart. The colloquium will enable students to research and write papers on this important emerging subject, including papers on the applications in the field of environmental law and other regulatory topics. Students will also be engaged in research and other work for the project book, workshops, and conference.

The project will document and assess existing applications of national or international law to the administration of global governance; evaluate the need for new or modified administrative law mechanisms to meet new demands for accountability arising from globalization; and frame the practical issues presented in relation to an integrated set of theoretical ideas that will help carry global administrative law forward as an academic field as well as an important area of practice. Building on experience with administrative law in countries in Europe and elsewhere as well as in the United States through studies by participating scholars from around the world, the project will consider how far global administrative law should focus on ensuring the legality of international regulatory decisions, or on broader objectives including promoting more informed and responsive exercise of policy discretion by international decision-makers, expanded participation, and effective regulatory performance. In doing so, it will need to confront some important distinctive characteristics of global governance arrangements, including their multi-level character, shared responsibility for decisions, informality of decision-making, the general absence of strong international courts or tribunals with power to review the decisions of international actors, and the substantial direct involvement of the private sector. These characteristics will make it difficult to simply transplant domestic administrative law arrangements to the global administrative level. At the same time, domestic experience should provide an important source of ideas and experience for the development of global administrative law. Further, there are emerging international practices, including the institution of an Inspection Panel at the World Bank to review compliance by World Bank officials with its environmental and other policies and the submission of amicus briefs by non-governmental organizations to WTO dispute settlement tribunals, that could also provide a foundation for the development of a global administrative law.

Program on Environmental Regulation

Project on the Valuation of Environmental Benefits

Four years ago, Dean Revesz embarked on a series of projects to develop and encourage a more progressive approach to the use of cost-benefit analysis in the environmental regulatory process. First, he explored the policies many regulatory agencies had adopted of discounting the value assigned to the saving of human lives in the context of latent harms (those in which there is a time lag between the exposure to a harmful substance and the resulting death), and in the context of harms to future generations. His work was published as “Environmental Regulation, Cost-Benefit Analysis, and the Discounting of Human Lives,” 98 Columbia Law Review 941 (1999). It revealed serious conceptual problems, not previously recognized, with treating the two situations alike, and with discounting the value of lives saved in future generations.

Next, working with Samuel Rascoff, a post-graduate fellow at the Center on Environmental and Land Use Law (see p. 64), Revesz examined the anti-regulatory bias of risk tradeoff analysis, in which the value of risk reductions are discounted to account for the fact that decreases in one risk sometimes perversely promote increases in other risks. When the risk of death in a car accident is reduced by the use of seatbelts or airbags, for example, the benefits of the risk reduction are discounted by the fact that people sometimes drive faster because of the security they feel from the safety features, thereby offsetting the reduction in risk from those safety devices. But the ancillary benefits of risk reduction, such as the fact that policies to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions associated with greenhouse gases may have the ancillary benefit of reducing other air pollutants as well, are not similarly taken into account. Revesz and Rascoff revealed the systematic inattention to such ancillary benefits in “The Biases of Risk Tradeoff Analysis: Towards Parity in Regulatory Policy,” 69 University of Chicago Law Review 1763 (2002). They argued that ignoring ancillary benefits while accounting for risk tradeoffs results in institutional and methodological biases against environmental and health and safety regulations. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation funded Revesz’s work on risk tradeoff analysis.

Revesz currently is working with Laura Tesser (’00), the Center’s 2003-04 post-graduate fellow, to determine whether methodologies being used in pending regulatory proceedings to estimate the potential benefits of proposed environmental regulations have an anti-regulatory bias.

[SIDEBAR: Clean Air Litigation]

Revesz serves as a member of the Environmental Economics Advisory Committee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board, and participated in the committee’s review of various policies the EPA had adopted concerning the cost-benefit analysis of environmental regulation. The committee provided the peer review for EPA’s Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analyses (1999), and for its Cancer Risk Whitepaper (2000), which focused on the proper valuation of fatal cancer risk reduction benefits. Revesz also testified on issues concerning the valuation of human lives before the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the U.S. Senate.

Revesz describes his ongoing work on cost-benefit analysis as “an effort to move environmental regulatory processes toward a more rational approach, one that treats the valuation of environmental benefits no less sympathetically than the valuation of the costs of regulation.”

Program on Common Property Resources

Project on Market Mechanisms in Environmental Regulation

For more than 20 years, economists and legal scholars, led by Professor Stewart, have been arguing that many of the regulatory tools currently used to manage pollution and natural resources should be replaced with economic instruments. Nonetheless, regulators have been slow to adopt economic instruments, such as tradeable environmental allowances and taxes. The Center’s Project on Market Mechanisms, directed by Professor Wyman, is concerned with understanding the factors that promote and delay changes in the choice of environmental regulatory instrument.

A native of Canada, Wyman brings a comparative perspective to her work on environmental regulation. Reflecting her background, she is particularly interested in the implications of different institutional structures, and cultural and historical traditions for the choice of regulatory instrument.

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This past year, Wyman spent a considerable amount of time studying the regulation of fisheries in the United States and other countries, a subject of considerable concern given the depleted state of many world fisheries and recent proposals for reforming U.S. fisheries regulation. Indeed, fisheries have been on Wyman’s mind so much recently that she gave her first-year Property students a final exam about a law professor (imaginary, of course) who decided mid-career that she would rather be a fisherwoman in a gentrifying New England fishing community.

Wyman’s work on fisheries builds on her previous research on the choice of instrument for regulating air pollution. In 2002, she published an article that challenged the conventional explanation for the greater openness that the United States has demonstrated for experimenting with air pollution markets compared with other countries. Conventionally, the United States’ greater willingness to experiment with pollution markets has been explained as a product of a greater enthusiasm here for markets and property rights more generally. But drawing on a case study of air pollution regulation in Canada, Wyman argued that the large number of potential market participants in the United States, and the U.S. environmental regulatory institutions, may have been more influential in prompting the early openness to markets than a pro-market culture. In 2003-04, Wyman will convene a roundtable on the use of market mechanisms to manage commons resources such as air, water, and fisheries. The roundtable will bring together parties who have been actively involved in implementing property rights and market approaches for regulating commons resources to explore the factors promoting, and complicating, the introduction of tradeable environmental allowances.

Program on Land Use Law Project on Regulatory

Expropriations in International Law — Update

In April 2002, NYU School of Law hosted a stellar group of academics, practitioners, and policymakers from environmental, land use, comparative, and international law to debate how far international trade and investment agreements should go in requiring legal protections for foreign investors who complain that a host government’s environmental or land use regulations have diminished the value of their investments. That issue is a focal point in the broader debate over the tensions between liberalizing international trade and investment and maintaining domestic protection for the environment, public health, and labor. It is central, for example, to current controversies over the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that the World Health Organization recently opened for signature, and the possibility that the World Trade Organization might seek to negotiate a multilateral investment agreement.

The conference, organized by Professors Been and Sands, along with Lenore Marquis (’02) and Stephanie Toti (’03), and the colloquium editors of the NYU Environmental Law Journal, continues to have a significant impact on debate in Washington and abroad over what kind of investor protections should be included in trade and investment agreements. Articles resulting from the conference were published in volume 11 of the Environmental Law Journal. In addition, as a result of the conference, Been has published a series of works exploring the challenges investor protections in international agreements may pose for environmental and land use regulators around the world. Her recent work includes:

> “The Global Fifth Amendment: NAFTA’s Investment Protections and the Misguided Quest for an International Regulatory Takings Doctrine,” 78 New York University Law Review 30 (2003) (with Joel Beauvais (’02));

> “Will International Agreements Trump Local Environmental Law?,” in New Ground: The Advent of Local Environmental Law (John R. Nolon, ed. 2003);

> “NAFTA’s Investment Protections and the Division of Authority for Land Use and Environmental Controls,” 32 Environmental Law Reporter 11001 (2002).

Project on Pricing Development

Fundamental economic principles require that the price of a good or service include all of the costs and benefits that the production of that good creates. If producers are able to “externalize” some of the costs of their activities on others, such as neighboring landowners, taxpayers, or consumers, they will decide to make more of a product than is efficient, or socially desirable. The problem of how to force decision-makers to internalize all the costs of their activity drives much of property and tort law, as well as environmental, land use, and health and safety regulation. Many of the nation’s land use regulatory systems currently allow land development projects to externalize some of the costs of the development. Taxpayers, neighboring landowners, neighboring jurisdictions, and future generations often subsidize part of the expense of the infrastructure needed to support the development, or of the clean-up or mitigation of the environmental damage the development creates, for example. Professor Been, who has long been a student of local government policies designed to force land developers to bear, or “internalize” the social costs of their development projects, has launched a series of initiatives designed to help land use and environmental policy-makers understand how local governments can more effectively deploy user fees, development impact fees, and local tax policies to ensure that the costs development projects impose on a community do not outweigh the benefits the projects bring.

people imageAs a first step, Been, working with Elizabeth Stein (’03), is using a nationwide survey of local governments to document the prevalence and nature of local government efforts to value or “price” development projects accurately. The survey seeks to remedy substantial gaps in our understanding of how local governments employ fee and tax policies. It probes how municipalities assess the potential costs and benefits of development, and seeks to understand the legal, political, and methodological barriers local governments face in their efforts to conduct more accurate assessments.

The results of the survey, along with interviews of local government officials, will form the basis of a conference designed to bring the most innovative and thoughtful legal, urban planning, and economic experts together to chart out an agenda for the research needed to help local governments better assess the costs and benefits of development proposals. The conference, which will be held in spring 2004, will identify the conceptual, methodological, and technological advances needed to help local governments more accurately assess the likely impact of proposed developments and the costs and benefits of those impacts, and will attempt to jump-start the research necessary to secure those advances. Conference participants will grapple with such questions as how local governments should address the distributional impacts of better pricing, whether and how intergovernmental institutional arrangements may promote better cost-benefit analysis, and how legal restrictions on the use of impact fees and taxes can promote efficient fees and deter over-regulation or abusive regulatory practices by local governments.

Depending on the results of the survey and the conclusions reached in the conference, Been then plans to develop both research projects, and training and legal assistance programs to help local governments overcome the barriers they face in assessing the potential costs and benefits of development projects accurately. “There is currently no ‘information bank’ that local governments could turn to with confidence to get the latest research on cost-benefit analysis of development projects,” Been noted. “There is no ‘best practices’ library of analytical tools that have proved helpful, or even of the assessment policies or user and impact fee or tax policy tools that local governments have used successfully. One initiative NYU School of Law might undertake would use the model of our clinical programs to develop a ‘policy analysis clinic’ in which law, planning, and urban economics students and faculty would provide research and policy analysis as well as legal advice to local governments seeking to improve their cost-benefit analysis of development projects, design better impact fee or tax policies, or defend those policies against legal challenges.” Been cautioned that “the ‘solutions’ must await better information about the problem,” but she sees “enormous possibilities for our students to help local governments develop better policies, while improving their own research, analytic, and problemsolving skills.”

The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy

Founded in 1994, the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy is widely acknowledged to be the leading academic research center in New York City devoted to the public policy aspects of real estate development. The Center, which is directed by Professor Schill, is dedicated to the following three missions:

> Conducting objective academic and empirical research on the legal and public policy issues involving real estate, housing, and urban affairs, with a particular focus on New York City.

> Providing a forum for discussion and interchange among leading practitioners, policy-makers, scholars, faculty, and students about real estate and urban policy.

> Promoting innovative teaching techniques and learning experiences in real estate and urban-related topics.

The Center draws on the strengths of the university’s faculty. Fifteen faculty members from NYU School of Law, the Wagner School of Public Service, the Stern School of Business, and the Economics Department of the Faculty of Arts and Science participate in the Center’s interdisciplinary research, teaching, and programmatic activities. In addition, the Center employs two full-time research fellows, as well as several student research assistants.


The Center and its staff have completed numerous studies on issues of housing, development, and planning in New York City, including the projects described below.

The Impacts of Housing Development, Crime Reduction, and Education Quality on Housing Values in Low- and Moderate- Income Neighborhoods

Center faculty have published two articles and completed three additional papers on the impact of city housing programs, crime reductions, and school quality on neighborhood housing values. The first article, which found that middle-income homeownership projects generated significant property value increases, was featured recently in an article in the New York Times. Future work in this area will examine the link between economic development and environmental amenities and home values.

Reducing the Cost of New Housing Construction in New York City

The Center’s study on how to reduce the cost of housing construction, co-sponsored by the New York City Partnership and the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, has had considerable influence since its publication in 1999. The study’s recommendations were published in an article in the New York Times, were endorsed by Mayor Giuliani in his 2001 State of the City Speech, and inform many of the proposals Mayor Bloomberg set forth in his 2002 New Marketplace housing plan. In May 2003, Schill presented the findings to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Understanding Differences in Cooperative and Condominium Apartment Values in New York City

Schill and Furman Fellow Ioan Voicu, in partnership with appraiser Jonathan Miller, have begun a series of studies on the valuation of cooperatives and condominiums in New York. The first paper examined whether the difference in legal form affects value and was featured in a cover story in the New York Times Real Estate Section. Future papers will examine the relationship between cooperative/condominium prices and the stock market, the city’s economy, and distance from amenities.

Tracking Changes in New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods

The Center publishes an annual report, titled The State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods, which contains more than 300 pages of the latest data on housing and neighborhood conditions. In 2002, the Center received a $457,000 matching grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to create an interactive Web-based data system for New York City that would make all of this data and mapping capability available to all New York citizens, free of charge. The New York City Housing and Neighborhood Information System (NYCHANIS) is scheduled to become operational in September 2003 (see p. 108).

tree imageEvents

Each year the Furman Center sponsors a series of events to bring members of New York’s real estate and development community together with academics, students, and policy-makers to discuss important policy issues facing New York City.

Research Conferences

The Center has sponsored several conferences over the past eight years on a variety of issues. These conferences have featured academic papers and discussants from a variety of fields. The results have typically been published in conference volumes. The topics included housing and community development policy in New York City; rent regulation (co-sponsored with the Rent Guidelines Board); immigration in New York City (co-sponsored with Fannie Mae); research on housing and economic development, and policies to promote affordable housing (both co-sponsored with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York).

International Housing Conferences

The Center has co-sponsored three conferences with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development that have brought together housing and community development officials from around the world to discuss creative solutions to housing and urban planning problems. The most recent conference took place in March and featured housing professionals from Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Northern Ireland, Norway, and Poland, as well as the United States.

Housing Breakfasts

Over the past year, the Center has hosted breakfasts for members of the housing and community development industry as well as the academic community. Recent speakers included Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, Housing Commissioner Jerilyn Perine, Finance Commissioner Martha Stark (’86), and Center Research Fellow Shaun Donovan.

VU 2002 and VU 2003 Real Estate Market Panels

The Furman Center has co-sponsored with the New York Times biannual panels on the commercial and residential real estate markets. Recent guests have included Daniel Brodsky, Barbara Corcoran, William Rudin, Stephen Spinola, and William Zeckendorf.


Students are at the center of all the Furman Center activities. NYU students participate in all Center conferences. In addition, instruction takes place in several other ways:

Segal Real Estate Roundtable

Through the generosity of NYU School of Law alumni Andrew (’92) and Justin (’96) Segal, the Center funds monthly lunches for students modeled after the Dean’s Roundtable. Speakers have included Henry Elghanayan (’66), chief executive officer, Rockrose Development; Jay Furman (’71), principal, RD Management; Fran Reiter, former New York City deputy mayor for economic development and planning; Jonathan Rose, president, Jonathan Rose Associates and Jonathan Vogel (’96), general counsel, Jonathan Rose Associates (see p. 60); Joseph Rose, partner, Georgetown Company; Jack Rudin, chairman, Rudin Management; Larry Silverstein, president and chief executive officer, Silverstein Properties; Martha Stark (’86), commissioner of the New York City Department of Finance; and Carl Weisbrod (’68), president, Alliance for Downtown New York.

Student Research Fellowships

Through the generosity of two alumni — Herbert Gold (’40) and Ronald Moelis (’82)— two student fellowships have been endowed in the Center. Each year students compete for the opportunity to receive the fellowships, which also include the opportunity to work on research projects with Center faculty.

The Authority

Four students work on The Authority, a quarterly journal devoted to the law of housing and urban redevelopment. The Authority is edited by Schill for the Housing and Development Law Institute in Washington, D.C.

Center faculty and staff also advise or consult with several city agencies, governmental officials, and non-profit organizations. For example, Schill serves or has served as a member of the Housing Task Forces of City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, and Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum. In addition, he is vice chair of the New York City Loft Board and a member of Mayor Bloomberg’s Neighborhood Investment Advisory Panel. He is also a member of the board of directors of Neighborhood Restore.