Constantine Kontokosta to Head New Center for the Sustainable Built Environment at NYU Schack

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NEW YORK, NY - May 5, 2010 - The NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate has named Professor Constantine Kontokosta as director of the new Center for the Sustainable Built Environment (SBE). NYU Schack is one of the country’s leading centers of learning and the premier institution in New York City serving the greater real estate and building industries. 

“The SBE represents an incredible opportunity to transform how real estate professionals approach sustainability,” Kontokosta said. “Sustainable building is now recognized as a crucial part of the worldwide effort to reduce our carbon footprint and avert global climate change, but research and education targeted to real estate decision-makers is needed to implement and deploy innovative solutions.”

Kontokosta’s over-arching vision for the SBE is to create a multi-disciplinary, collaborative platform to foster innovation and to advance the practice of sustainability in the real estate and construction industries through applied research, education, and outreach.

The Center’s research provides timely and practical knowledge aimed at facilitating innovation in sustainable development practices and technologies. Current research projects include efforts to remove economic and policy barriers to energy efficiency in existing and new buildings, determine the effects of land use and other regulations on innovation in green buildings and analyze the real estate returns in “green” cities.

“The SBE can and will bridge the gap that exists between the theory of sustainable development and its practice in New York City and throughout the world,” Kontokosta said.

In addition, Kontokosta has initiated a number of new opportunities for graduate students. The Sustainable Real Estate Development Competition will be the first student competition focused on using sustainability as a metric for evaluation. The SBE also sponsors internships and has launched the Technical Assistance Program, which matches teams of students with non-profit organizations or government agencies to analyze real-world problems. 

The SBE will take full advantage of its location in the heart of New York City and ready access to the full array of resources available at the NYU School for Continuing and Professional Studies, as well as other NYU schools such as Wagner, Law, Stern, NYU-Poly, and others. The SBE has been successful in securing grant funding from a number of sources to support its research and outreach initiatives.

Increasing awareness of sustainability issues is an integral part of Kontokosta’s overall vision for the SBE. This past semester, the SBE launched the Sustainability Speaker Series that brings high-profile names – including Anthony Malkin, president of Malkin Properties, and Related Management president Jeff Brodsky - from the sustainable development arena to speak with students and faculty at the Schack Institute. 
In November, the SBE will host a full-day conference focused on sustainable real estate and construction, which will bring together industry, academic, and public sector leaders to chart a path toward building the “smart city”. The conference will coincide with the new student competition to create an unprecedented learning opportunity for students and professionals.

Professor Kontokosta earned a BSE from the University of Pennsylvania, Master’s degrees in Real Estate Development from NYU and Urban Planning from Columbia University. He is currently completing his PhD in Urban Planning and Economics at Columbia University, where he is specializing in housing and land use policy, econometrics, and urban/environmental economics. Kontokosta has received numerous awards and fellowships, including awards from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and the American Society of Civil Engineers. In addition, Kontokosta recently received NYU’s Outstanding Service Award and named a Fulbright Senior Specialist Scholar.

In addition to his academic accomplishments, Kontokosta is Principal and Founder of a New York-based real estate development and investment firm focused on incorporating economic, social, and environmental sustainability. He also serves as the Vice Chair of the Suffolk County Planning Commission, and has been active with numerous academic and professional associations, including Engineers without Borders. He is a licensed professional engineer in New York State, a planner certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners, and a USGBC LEED Accredited Professional.