MacArthur Awards for Creative & Effective Institutions

Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University

New York, New York | 2012 Award Recipient

Applying Interdisciplinary Research and Analysis to Improve Public Policy

Through interdisciplinary, nonpartisan and rigorous academic research, the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University promotes better debate and more informed decisions about how to resolve the current housing crisis and other crucial housing, land use and urban policy issues. 

The Center was founded in 1995 as a joint research center of the New York University School of Law and the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. It is dedicated to leveraging the talented faculty and students of the university to provide objective academic and empirical research on land use, real estate, housing and urban policy issues in the United States, with a particular focus on New York City. It promotes candid discussions among policymakers, practitioners and researchers about critical issues and has become the premier thought leader about New York City’s housing and neighborhoods. 

The Center is committed to training the next generation of leaders in housing and land use research and policy. In 1997, the Furman Center spearheaded a unique interdisciplinary post-doctoral fellowship program to train economists, planners and lawyers for academic and research careers.

In 2002, the Center won a major federal grant to design and implement an online information system to make New York City housing and demographic data accessible for anyone to use—almost a decade before governments worldwide would launch their own “open data” portals. Most recently, in 2010, the Center founded the Institute for Affordable Housing Policy to support policymakers seeking to more effectively provide housing to low-income households. 

The MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions arrives as the Center transitions from a research institution focused almost solely on New York City to one with national research capabilities. This transformation will enable the Center to collect data in multiple cities and to address a broader set of policy challenges, which will help to make its research more applicable on a national scale.

The Center will use its $1 million award to create an endowment that will allow it to partner with scholars across the country to expand the Center’s research methods and geographic reach. In addition, it will use the award to improve its communications and data management capabilities. These steps will help the Center grow from a highly respected regional research organization to a national resource for policymakers and the public.


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