Conference Overview

The crises of the last year – plummeting housing prices, accelerating foreclosures and collapsing financial institutions – and a new administration in Washington have created an opportunity to fundamentally rethink federal housing policy.

With support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation, New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy is convening leading thinkers on Thursday, February 12, and Friday, February 13, 2009 to reexamine federal housing policy, and its connections to the broader economy and other areas of federal policy.

The conference will provide President Obama, Congress, and the president’s appointees in housing and urban policy with specific recommendations for how to reconstruct the mortgage finance system, bring new models for first-time homeownership to scale, link affordable rental housing with economic opportunities for families, and forge more effective connections between housing programs and transportation, environment and education policy.
By bringing together national and local policy makers, developers, advocates, academics, and private sector leaders from fields as diverse as finance, urban development, environmental protection and child advocacy, the conference will present realistic perspectives on which of the most ambitious and creative ideas in housing can be introduced and brought to scale by the new administration.

This invitation only, two-day conference will feature keynote addresses by members of the Obama Administration, a breakfast roundtable, and a series of panel discussions. Each of these sessions are designed to generate frank conversations on the challenges and opportunities the current crisis has left us with, and result in concrete strategies for moving forward.


Keynote Speech

Mr. Donovan was appointed Commissioner of the New York City Department of…

Keynote Roundtable

After the Credit Freeze Thaws: Are Mortgage-Backed Securities the Best Way to…


Introduction of Bruce Katz: Julia M. Stasch, Vice President, Human and Community…


Providing objective academic and empirical research
Promoting frank and productive discussions
Presenting essential data and analysis

Furman Center

Since its founding in 1995, The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy has become the leading academic research center in New York City devoted to the public policy aspects of land use, real estate development and housing. The Furman Center is dedicated to the following three missions:

Providing objective academic and empirical research on the legal and public policy issues involving land use, real estate, housing and urban affairs in the United States, with a particular focus on New York City. At present, our research focuses particularly on measuring the impacts public and private investments such as housing, schools, amenities and changes in services have on neighborhood property values and other measures of neighborhood quality;

Promoting frank and productive discussions among elected and appointed officials, leaders of the real estate industry, leaders of non-profit housing and community development organizations, scholars, faculty and students about critical issues in land use, real estate and urban policy;

Presenting essential data and analysis about the state of New York City’s housing and neighborhoods to all those involved in land use, real estate development, community economic development, housing, urban economics and urban policy.

PlanNYC is a comprehensive urban planning website, with news summaries and links to development-related articles, official documents such as environmental impact statements, and a citywide calendar of upcoming planning events, including local community board meetings and public hearings. PlanNYC brings together information from advocacy organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, neighborhood groups, and media organizations, all in one location.

The New York City Neighborhood Information Service (NYCHANIS) is an interactive website that allows users to obtain data and information about New York City neighborhoods and create custom-made tables, charts, graphs, and maps.

The Furman Center is directed by Vicki Been, the Elihu Root Professor of Law. Ingrid Gould Ellen, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Planning, is the Co-Director of the Center. More than 15 faculty from the Law School, the Wagner School, and NYU's Faculty of Arts and Sciences are involved in the Center's work.