The Urban Lab

NYU SPS Schack Institute of Real Estate Urban Lab

The NYUSPS Schack Institute of Real Estate Urban Lab develops new understandings of the real estate trends that are reshaping our cities. With more than half the world’s population currently living in cities, and an estimated sixty million more moving to cities every year, urban hubs are shaping our future.


Working with leading urbanists and city practitioners, the Lab takes on the complex challenges facing cities and offers market-based solutions to building greater community prosperity, inclusion, and competitiveness. The Lab explores the real estate development trends that are changing the urban environments in which we live and work, and the shifting paradigm in the ways we think about these evolving hubs of business and creativity.


The NYUSPS Urban Lab at the Schack Institute of Real Estate fosters thought leadership and develops the best practices to shape real estate development, and to address the unique challenges facing cities around the world. Working with real estate developers, city practitioners, and students, the Lab produces market-based solutions to build greater community prosperity and competitiveness.


The NYUSPS Urban Lab at the Schack Institute of Real Estate develops content, conferences, events, and thought-leadership on the trends and practices reshaping real estate development, and the unique challenges facing cities today. Through its research and  partnerships, the Lab is a thought-leader for the real estate industry and urban leadership.


The Lab:  

  • Generates applied research reports, case studies, and policies that impact the real estate industry and urban development;
  • Hosts events on the Lab's research that bring together thought leaders to discuss urban issues;
  • Offers professional development training programs that include advanced diplomas, career advancement courses, and workshops.

Leadership Team

Sam Chandan

Larry & Klara Silverstein Chair in Real Estate Development and Investment

Associate Dean, NYUSPS Schack Institute of Real Estate

Sam Chandan, PhD, is the Larry & Klara Silverstein Chair in Real Estate Development and Investment, and associate dean of the NYUSPS Schack Institute of Real Estate. In addition, he is partner, global head of strategy, and a member of the investment committee at Capri Capital, a multinational investment management firm with $3.5 billion of assets under management in the United States and investment platforms in sub-Saharan Africa and India. He also is founder of Chandan Economics, a leading provider of multifamily and commercial real estate mortgage data and risk analytics, and cohost of the Real Estate Hour on SiriusXM Business Radio.


A columnist for The Observer and, Chandan’s commentary on commercial and residential real estate markets and the broader economy has been featured regularly in national and global press, including The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, CNBC, and Bloomberg. He is the editor and coauthor of Real Estate Financing, published by PEI, and the lead investigator for Regulatory Design and Real Outcomes, a major study on the regulation of commercial real estate lending commissioned by the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council (CREFC).


Chandan earned a PhD in applied economics from The Wharton School, The University of Pennsylvania; a bachelor’s degree in economics also from Wharton; and master’s degrees in economics and engineering from The University of Pennsylvania. In addition to his applied research on commercial real estate capital markets and risk analytics, his academic work has focused on issues relating to school access, housing affordability, and development economics.

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Steven Pedigo

Director, Urban Lab

Clinical Assistant Professor, NYUSPS Schack Institute of Real Estate

Steven Pedigo is an expert in economic and urban development, city strategy and management, and placemaking. Steven has advised and collaborated with more than 50 cities, universities, developers, nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies across the globe to build more creative, innovative, and inclusive communities.


Steven’s city clients include New York, Jerusalem, Vancouver, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Brisbane, the Yukon, Tulsa, Austin, Portland, Newark, San Diego-Tijuana, Miami, Sao Paulo, Monterrey, Mexico City, and many others. His corporate clients include BMW, Converse, Starwood Hotels, Philips, Cirque du Soleil, Audi, Pinewood Studios, Zappos, EDENS, Kraft, among others.


Currently, Steven is the director of the New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate Urban Lab and a clinical assistant professor of economic development at NYU. He is also the director of research and advising for the Creative Class Group, in addition to being an associate partner at Resonance Consultancy (Vancouver/NYC) and a senior advisor for Leland Consulting (Portland).


Earlier in his career, Steven served as vice president for the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a national research organization founded by Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter to encourage private-sector investment into U.S. distressed urban areas. Prior to ICIC, Steven was the vice president for business attraction and research for Greater Portland, Inc. He began his career as the director of research for the Greater Washington Initiative and Board of Trade.


Steven holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and graduate degrees from the H. John Heinz III School for Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Steven lives in South Orange, New Jersey with his partner Brian and their Boston Terrier, Oswald. Together, they are active in the Montrose Park Historic District, and Steven is the board chair of the South Orange Village Center Alliance.

Steven W Pedigo

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Schack Institute of Real Estate

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Richard Florida

Clinical Research Professor

Richard Florida is a clinical research professor at the NYU School of Professional Studies, the director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, and the founder of the Creative Class Group, which works closely with governments and companies worldwide.


Florida is perhaps the world’s leading urbanist, "as close to a household name as it is possible for an urban theorist to be in America," according to The Economist. Esquire has included him on its annual list of "The Best and the Brightest," and Fast Company dubbed him an "intellectual rock star." MIT Technology Review recently named him one of the world’s most influential thinkers. GDI also named him one of the world’s global thought leaders of 2013.


Florida is the author of several global best sellers, including the award-winning The Rise of the Creative Class ("one of the best business books of all time"—800-CEO-READ), and is a senior editor for The Atlantic, where he co-founded and serves as editor-at-large for Atlantic Cities, the world’s leading media site devoted to cities and urban affairs. He appears often on CNN and other news broadcasts and is a regular contributor to the op-ed pages of major newspapers and magazines. TIME magazine recognized his Twitter feed as one of the 140 most influential in the world.


Florida previously taught at Carnegie Mellon University and George Mason University, and has been a visiting professor at Harvard University and at MIT. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers College and a PhD from Columbia University.

Photo of Richard Florida

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