NYU Urban Lab

NYU Urban Lab at the Schack Institute of Real Estate

In 2009, the global population in urban areas exceeded that in rural areas for the first time, and today over 80% of global GDP comes from cities. Since its founding in 1967 Schack and the NYU Urban Lab have fostered collaborations between students, faculty and industry leaders to address the unique real estate challenges facing cities around the world, with a particular focus on  the strategies for simultaneously advancing both economic and social prosperity, which we call inclusive growth.

The Lab is multi-disciplinary and focuses on four areas of research:

  • Inclusive Growth & Economic Development
  • Regenerative and Sustainable Infrastructure
  • Public/Private Partnerships & Impact Capital Formation
  • Agglomeration

The Lab’s annual activities include:

  • Faculty sponsored research
  • Convenings including the annual Global Cities Conference
  • A published body of practical case studies, tutorials and lectures by industry leaders and academics
  • Student, industry and faculty fellows are regularly involved in analyzing and publishing case studies in public/private partnerships. 

Contact us today to get involved in helping to understand and shape the future of the global urban landscape.

Leadership Team

Matthew Kwatinetz

Director, Urban Lab

Clinical Assistant Professor of Real Estate Economics, NYU Schack Real Estate Institute

Professor Kwatinetz is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Real Estate Economics and the Director of the NYU Urban Lab. Previously, “Professor K” was the Executive Vice President of Asset Management for the New York City Economic Development Corporation. In that role he was in charge of managing the largest real estate portfolio in the five boroughs at over 65M square feet and encompassing such assets as the 42nd Street Development Project, Hunts Point Food Distribution Center and Brooklyn Army Terminal. For EDC, Professor K also ran PortNYC, the third largest port in the US, and also managed the team behind the launch and operations of the NYC Ferry, which is the largest expansion of commuter ferry service in US history. Kwatinetz was the lead on the Mayor's Affordable Real Estate for Artists (AREA) program, which is the largest affordable artist work-space initiative in the country.

Before NYCEDC, Professor K ran QBL Partners, a double bottom line public/private advisory firm. Selected clients included U.S. Department of Energy, Wharton’s Geo-Spatial Laboratory, Real Capital Analytics, Denny Hill Capital, Penn Institute for Urban Research, City of Shoreline, Kinzer Real Estate Services, City of Austin, Citiscope/Ford Foundation. Before QBL, Kwatinetz worked as the VP of Finance and Economics for Kinzer Real Estate Services where he supported real estate investment decision-making and site selection for such clients as the University of Washington, Alaska Airlines, and Starbucks Corporation. For Starbucks and with Kinzer Real Estate, he led a team to negotiate the creation of a $150M manufacturing plant in Augusta, GA. Following that project, he was recruited by the Mayor of Augusta to create Augusta Regional Collaboration Project (ARC), a public development corporation which worked with the City and State to consolidate several higher ed anchors into Georgia’s third research university into the downtown, causing $150M+ of investment in the urban core. With ARC, Kwatinetz also worked with Paine College (an HBCU) and the Housing and Community Development Department to help equitably develop historic Laney-Walker Bethlehem. 

Kwatinetz is a former consulting economist for the Penn Institute for Urban Research. In 2018, he published Thriving In Place: Supporting Austin’s Cultural Vitality Through Place-Based Economic Development, sponsored by the NEA, City of Austin and ArtPlace America. He is a co-author of “Introduction to the Big Data Era” with Stephan Kudyba in Kudyba’s Big Data, Mining and Analytics.  While in Seattle, Kwatinetz served as the founding Vice President of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, co-founded the Seattle Cultural Overlay District Advisory Committee, and sat on King County’s Cultural Real Estate Task Force.

Matthew is the Chair of the ULI NY District Technical Assistance Program and serves on the NY District Management Committee and the national Public/Private Council. He is the Board Chair for the Augusta Regional Collaboration Corporation. He is a Board Member of the Burning Man Project, as well as their interim head of Real Estate. He has been a featured speaker for Wharton, Harvard GSD, NYU, the University of Washington, Columbia, The New School, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Americans for the Arts, NAIOP, Net Impact, and the Centre for Policy Studies on Culture and Communities. Matthew received his MBA in Real Estate at The Wharton School, where he was named a Martin Bucksbaum scholar. He is a graduate of Deep Springs College and Harvard University, with honors.

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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 GlobeSt.com, 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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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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