Event-Building a New Urban Agenda

The NYUSPS Schack Institute of Real Estate Urban Lab presented "Building a New Urban Agenda" featuring a distinguished panel of urban thought leaders and policy makers on November 2, 2016 to discuss a national urban agenda.

Five key themes were explored, including the future of the creative economy; investing in urban and suburban transit infrastructure; building affordable housing; upgrading jobs and wages; and targeting poverty areas in central cities and suburbs.

Sam Chandan, Larry & Klara Silverstein Chair in Real Estate Development and Investment, and associate dean, NYUSPS Schack Institute of Real Estate, led the discussion. Panelists included Richard Florida, renowned urbanist; Svenja Gudell, chief economist, Zillow; Amy Liu, vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution; and Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland and senior advisor, The MetroLab Network.

Key Takeaways

  • A new urban agenda will be difficult to solve on the national level alone. Any efforts at reform must engage mayors, cities, and regions as well.
  • The two most important improvements to our nation's cities include affordable housing and transportation reform.
  • As some of the biggest investors in our cities, universities have an obligation to develop urban programs.
  • Cities looking to diversify their economies would benefit from employer-led efforts to upgrade their service jobs. This can be achieved by marrying technology with existing industries.
  • By framing affordable housing in terms of capital investment and job growth, policymakers can gain bipartisan support.
  • While many communities are experiencing strong regional growth, a number of neighborhoods have fallen behind. A new urban policy must strive to bridge this divide between opportunity and talent.