This studio focuses on the development of a certification process for rating real estate development projects in terms of their contribution to social and economic equality, similar to the way that LEED rates developments based on their use of green and sustainable practices. The certification process will eventually be used as a tool to educate developers and communities about how individual projects can contribute to greater equality and to incentivize developers to build projects that have a positive impact on the social and economic wellbeing of individuals and communities. The client had already identified real estate development best practices for promoting community participation, affordable housing, fair employment practices, designated space meeting community needs, and design standards relevant to equality. The studio’s primary focus was on devising a system for actually measuring developers’ activities in these five areas. The studio team produced a complex and thorough measurement system, which the client will build upon in the next phase to develop the full certification system. The certification will produce a final score that will indicate how well a development project promotes equality. The studio envisions ISLG producing a certification system that will be sought after by developers, recognizable to the general population, and malleable enough to be applied nationwide.
The client for this year- long studio was the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG). Established in 2013, ISLG is a City University of New York think tank that analyzes governmental policy and social issues, using data-driven research to improve public services.