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Real Estate Finance: Incentivizing Capital to Create Better Outcomes in the Built Environment

Jun 3 – Jun 14, 2024
Across New York City
Research Question
Why can’t we achieve better outcomes from developers in the built environment?
Real Estate Finance lies at the crux of many issues facing the built environment today. It is both the problem and the solution. When improperly utilized, capital can act as the largest impediment toward progress. However, when financial incentives are properly structured, they can be one of the most powerful and rapid agents of change. Many of the negative outcomes we observe in the built environment are the result of a lack of understanding of finance. By understanding the lexicon of finance, students will be armed with a new toolkit to better address the challenges of tomorrow.
Methodology and Process

In this workshop, students will learn the basic components of finance through Microsoft Excel. The program will start as a series of workshops where they act as developer and have to problem-solve by analyzing a project and understanding the use of financial incentives. Armed with these skills, students will form small groups and select one of the questions (below) as a topic for their final proposal.

Issues in Real Estate:
Understanding incentives and capital structures: Is it all about the bottom line or is it more complicated?

When government policy falls short of achieving lasting outcomes: Why should they think more about opportunity than enforcement?

Capital is one of the largest hurdles facing MWOBE and emerging developers: What solutions might exist to empower them?

Sustainability vs. Affordability: Why are these initiatives at constant odds with one another?

Changing the conversation: How can we get developers to understand the VALUE of design?

PropTech & Big Data: Why do seemingly user-friendly apartment-hunting sites actually benefit the landlord at the expense of the tenant?

NOTE: Sessions will likely take place during the evenings of Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week for two weeks (likely 5-8pm or 6-9pm, once space is confirmed). You do not have to intern to be accepted to this workshop but the schedule is set to support those students who do intern. The Developer Conversations (i.e. meetings with industry participants) will likely occur during one day, in which case students would be required to take that day off.

Outputs and Findings
Once students have selected a topic, I will host a number of sessions structured as open office hours where students will be challenged to understand the opposition’s financial perspective. I will work with each group throughout these sessions to help shape their ideas into actionable solutions for their final proposal and presentation. During final presentations, I will invite a panel of real estate finance professionals to provide feedback and suggest ways on how each group might continue to use real estate finance in their programs and future careers.

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