Explain the Sustainable Real Estate Development Competition. How do competitions like this influence the real estate industry?
The Annual Sustainable Real Estate Development Competition, organized by the Center for Sustainable Development at the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate, provides graduate students from Real Estate and MBA programs an opportunity to develop innovative models of sustainable real estate development while working together with students from a range of disciplines. Teams are required to select a site and develop an initial business proposal for a real estate development or redevelopment project that responds to a pressing environmental and/or social concern. The primary objective of the Competition is to foster innovative thinking among graduate students by connecting real estate development analysis, strategic planning, and social and environmental responsibility.
Is there any chance that such models created by the students will become reality?
Yes, absolutely. Teams were tasked with creating feasible and replicable models for sustainable urban development. Many of our industry partners involved with the competition expressed interest in exploring some of the student ideas further. Of course, the purpose of the competition is for teams to push the envelope and put forth really innovative concepts, so there is flexibility in deviating from some practical constraints.
Given this was the first year the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate hosted this competition, what might be added or eliminated from the competition next year?
The first competition was a fantastic success. We had a great response from student teams from across the country, and the quality of the proposals was outstanding. Next year we intend to expand our reach to include international universities, who will be able to participate either in person or through telepresence.
Has the green movement had any significant impact on the programs and concepts of the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate?
The NYU Schack Institute has taken a leadership role in advancing both the research and practice of sustainable design and development in the real estate industry. In just the past eighteen months, we have launched the Center for the Sustainable Built Environment, become involved with major research initiatives with other universities, government agencies, and the United Nations, and introduced a new Sustainable Development concentration within our Master of Science degree program. We also have a robust offering of professional and executive education courses in the fields of sustainable design, development, construction, and management. Our philosophy is that sustainability represents an integrated approach to decision-making that is innovation-driven and values the environmental and social outcomes of real estate development.
What sets the Sustainable Real Estate Competition apart from other building and design competitions?
The size of the award, for one! We handed out $40,000 in prizes to the top three teams, making the NYU Schack - Center for the Sustainable Built Environment Competition the largest university-organized competition in the country. The Competition was also the first to specifically focus on sustainability both as a way of approaching development ideas and as the over-arching metric of evaluation. We challenged the teams, working in inter-disciplinary groups of architecture, engineering, planning, real estate, and business students, to embrace environmental and social responsibility in creating a financial feasible model for urban development and redevelopment.
Explain the "Smart City" design. Will we start seeing these "Smart City" design concepts in the future?
The "Smart City" reflects innovative strategies in the design, development, financing and management of the built environment, utilizing real-time information and data analysis to improve decision-making and achieve positive social, environmental, and economic outcomes. We have seen a tremendous growth in interest in a data-driven, system-integrated urban model; pilot projects are now emerging across the globe with examples in China, Europe, and the United Arab Emirates.
What's next for the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate?
The Center for the Sustainable Built Environment continues to grow rapidly and to develop strategic relationships across academic disciplines and industry partners. We are now working on collaborative research projects that will transform how green building technologies are developed, deployed, and commercialized. This builds on our research of green building regulations and energy retrofit financing models. The Center is also co-organizing an upcoming event that will define the emerging field of "urban systems" as a research discipline. In other work, we are engaged with the United Nations on creating a baseline inventory of GHG emissions from buildings across the globe. We are also expanding our graduate degree courses in the area of sustainability.