Cities & Land Use

From Urban Affairs to Decentralization

New York City is an ideal place to study Cities and Land Use; it is both a case study and a crossroads for cutting-edge research in affordable housing, rental supply and income growth, utility costs, and protecting multifamily housing from natural disasters.

Faculty in this area harbor diverse interests and an enthusiasm for interdisciplinary work. Roderick Hills, for example, writes on public law, including land use regulation, with a focus on the common theme of decentralization; Katrina Wyman’s interests include rights in natural resources such as fisheries and air, and the evolution of the New York City taxi medallion; and Daniel Hulsebosch’s expertise, from the early modern British empire to 19th-century United States, explores the relationships between migration, territorial expansion, transnational sources of law, and the development of legal institutions and doctrines. (Vicki Been ’83 is on leave; in 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed her commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development.)

Outside of the classroom, the NYU Law community is actively engaging with questions shaping cities and land use law. Our renowned Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy regularly publishes research examining the state of cities across the nation, keeping its finger on the pulse of evolving trends and asking incisive questions of our policies and leaders. The Frank J. Guarini Center on Environmental, Energy, and Land Use Law also offers opportunities for students to pursue specialized postgraduate research fellowships.




Course Spotlight

The Law of NYC, taught by Roderick Hills Jr. and Peter Zimroth, director of the Center on Civil Justice, examines the laws and customs defining the city’s decision-making structures.

The NYC Law Department Externship provides an overview of work as an attorney in the New York City Law Department; students work in one of the NYCLD’s divisions under the supervision of assistant corporation counsel.

Student Voices

When Detroit found itself facing bankruptcy in 2014, David Leapheart ’14 and six other students joined Clayton Gillette in reimagining the structure of the Motor City’s municipal government.

Press Highlights

Expert: Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy
Expert: Faiza Patel, Brennan Center for Justice
Expert: Mark Willis, Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy