Sunday, September 27, 2009

Where have you gone, Mr. Stuckey? To academe and the questionable promotion of AY as transit-oriented development

It's no surprise that Atlantic Yards is a topic of academic interest, but only those at New York University's Wagner School are getting a chance to learn about it from Jim Stuckey, the former point man on the project for Forest City Ratner. And, as I describe below, there's reason to believe that the students may not be getting the full debate.

Stuckey appointment

An effusive August press release from the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies informs us that James Stuckey - Developer and Former Economic Development Official - Is New Leader of NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate:
The New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS) today announced the appointment of James P. Stuckey as divisional dean of the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate, the University’s home for graduate and continuing professional education and applied research in real estate, construction management, and related fields.

Throughout his 30-plus-year career as a public official and real estate executive, Stuckey has led some of the most complex and storied development in recent New York City history, including Forest City Ratner Company’s Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.

"Jim Stuckey is an exemplary leader," said NYU-SCPS Dean Robert Lapiner. “His lifetime of significant achievement in real estate and regional economic development, in construction management, and urban design seamlessly combined with his lifelong engagement with teaching, public service, and community life embody the academic mission, professional values, and ambitions we have for the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate. On behalf of our entire School community, I am truly elated he will be lending his energy, intellect, and vision to the Institute and our University.”

Teaching at Wagner

Stuckey also has been Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Administration at NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service since 2008. Wagner School. The school gives degrees in Public Administration, Urban Planning, and Management.

Stuckey is also the President, CEO and founder of Verdant Properties, a real estate development, ownership, acquisitions and consulting LLC. Unmentioned are some other Stuckey highlights, such as his appearance in a book on Brooklyn published last year

Transforming the Urban Economy

Stuckey teaches a class called TRANSFORMING THE URBAN ECONOMY. From the syllabus:
This course will examine the economic development concepts, programs and projects in cities, with particular emphasis on the New York City metropolitan area. It will provide students with a basic understanding of the process of economic development, tools for assessing development opportunities and for promoting economic development, information on both successful and unsuccessful strategies and projects, and opportunities to discuss current issues in economic development.

The intention of this course is to present students with information on how economic development projects and tools are created, evaluated, and implemented from both theoretical and experiential points of view. The course will also look at essential elements of development projects, review negotiation strategies, and analyze standard investment packages.

The course will include readings and discussions on a number of current cases in economic development in the New York City area.

The AY example: transit-oriented development?

Here's one Atlantic Yards mention:
Class 8 – Infrastructure Investment and development: transit-oriented development (October 27)
• What is transit-oriented development?
• Policy and planning tools for implementing TOD.
• Potential impacts of TOD.
• Examples: Atlantic Yards, Brooklyn; Moynihan Station; West Side Yards.
Required Reading:
• Robert Cervero, et al., Transit Oriented Development in the United States: Experiences, Challenges, and Prospects. 2004, Chapters 1, 9, 11 and 20.
• Regional Plan Association Reports on Moynihan Station, The West Side Yards and Newark, New Jersey.

There's no reading for Atlantic Yards. Will Stuckey assign my critique of the project's parking plan?

Reading Sagalyn

Stuckey is assigning Lynne Sagalyn's critique of Times Square development, which, as I noted this past week, raises many questions about AY.

Class 9 – Inner-city Economic Development (November 3)
• Why do inner cities lag behind?
• The Porter Thesis
• Assessing Inner-city Communities’ strengths and weaknesses.
• Building on local strengths, dealing with weaknesses.
• Examples from Newark and Times Square.
Required Reading:
• Segalyn, Lynn B. Times Square Roulette: Remaking the City Icon. MIT Press, 2001. Required chapters will be discussed in Class, although it is highly recommended that students read the entire book.
(That's Lynne Sagalyn, actually.)

The AY Community Benefits Agreement

Stuckey acknowledges there's a debate about Community Benefits Agreements but doesn't, at least according to the syllabus, assign any critiques:
Class 10 – People and Neighborhoods (November 10)
• Strengthening the city’s economy: the critical role of neighborhoods.
• Workforce development programs – neighborhood and sector strategies.
Community Benefits Agreements – raising the bar or feudal economies?

Required Reading:
• Richard Florida,
“Competing in the Age of Talent: Environment, Amenities and the New Economy,” January 2000
• Radha Roy Biswas, “Our Success is Our Graduates,” Case Study of Year Up: A Career Advancement Model for Low-Income Young Adults (Jobs for the Future) 2005
• The Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement, June 27, 2005.

Here's one critique of the CBA.

The international angle

Here's the description of the closing class:
Class 15-Bringing it together (December 15)
• How do all the pieces fit together?
• What is the future for urban development, the relationships internationally?
• Class discussion of major projects.

Did Stuckey know that Russia's richest man would be buying into AY?

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