Posted on January 29, 2015 · Posted in Faculty Associates News, Roosevelt House General News


New York, NY, January 26, 2015 – The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College today launches Issue Briefs, a new series of publications on timely public policy and human rights topics. The Briefs are papers on topics of timely public interest written by Hunter faculty members and notable outside experts.   The first round, “Affordable Housing,” provides commentary on Mayor de Blasio’s plan for 200,000 units of affordable housing.  It draws on Hunter faculty research into assisted housing policy over the years, including rent subsidies, rent control and neighborhood preservation.

The four Issue Briefs in this series are being published weekly on the Roosevelt House web site [] and through select nonprofit partners over the next month.  They are written by Hunter College Professors Matthew G. Lasner and Peter Kwong (Urban Affairs and Planning), Ida Susser (Anthropology) and Vishaan Chakrabarti, AIA, a principal at the New York City architecture firm SHoP Architects and a Columbia professor.

Matthew Lasner’s, “Affordable Housing in New York City: Then and Now,” begins the series with a broad historical overview of the various forms of housing regulation, assistance and zoning policy over the last century.

Peter Kwong’s “Preserve and Protect Chinatown,” co-authored with Samuel Stein of John Jay College and the Murphy Institute, considers Chinatown’s proximity to gentrified neighborhoods and suggests giving it special zoning.

Ida Susser’s “Unaffordable Housing: A Case Study,” co-authored with Filip Stabrowski of Hunter College uses development in Williamsburg and Greenpoint as lessons from which the de Blasio administration can learn.

Lastly, “A City of Cities: Toward a New York of Opportunity,” by Vishaan Chakrabarti describes the decentralization of employment away from Manhattan and the emergent need of what he terms “affordable urbanism.”

These briefs will be published on a weekly schedule, as follows:

Tuesday, 1/26, Matthew Lasner: Affordable Housing in NYC: Then and Now.

Tuesday, 2/3, Peter Kwong: Preserve and Protect Chinatown.

Tuesday 2/10, Ida Susser: Unaffordable Housing: A Case Study.

Tuesday 2/17, Vishaan Chakrabarti: A City of Cities: Toward a New York of Opportunity

Each brief will be published on the Roosevelt House website faculty publications page as well as via our partnering network of publishers.

About The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College

Roosevelt House, an integral part of Hunter College since 1943, re-opened in 2010 as a public policy institute honoring the distinguished legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Its mission is three-fold: to educate students in public policy and human rights, to support faculty research, and to foster creative dialogue. The institute provides opportunities for students to analyze public policy and experience meaningful civic engagement; for faculty to research, teach, and write about important issues of the day; and for scholarly and public audiences to participate in high-profile lectures, seminars and conferences.

About the Authors

Matthew Lasner, Assistant Professor, Urban Affairs and Planning, studies the history and theory of the U.S. built environment, with particular focus on housing, and the relationship between housing patterns and urban and suburban form. Lasner’s first book, High Life: Condo Living in the Suburban Century, published by Yale University Press in 2012, examines the emergence and growth of co-owned multifamily housing – the co-op and condominium apartment, as well as the townhouse complex — as an alternative to single-family suburbia in the twentieth century. Lasner has also written for Planning Perspectives, Buildings & Landscapes, the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, the Journal of Urban History, as well as for several edited volumes, encyclopedias, and regional journals and websites. His research focuses on housing, urban renewal, and urban development engages planning and the social sciences, cultural landscape studies and geography, and urban and architectural history.

He earned his Ph.D. in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and holds an MS in urban and regional planning studies from the London School of Economics. He earned his BA in urban studies at Columbia. Before joining Hunter, Lasner was an assistant professor of history at Georgia State University, in Atlanta.

Peter Kwong, Distinguished Professor, Urban Affairs and Planning, is a pioneer in Asian American studies, a leading scholar of immigration, and an award-winning journalist and filmmaker, widely recognized for his passionate commitment to human rights and social justice.

His books include Chinese America: The Untold Story of America’s Oldest New Community and Chinese Americans: An Immigrant Experience, co-authored with his wife, Chinese historian Dusanka Miscevic. His other books include Forbidden Workers: Chinese Illegal Immigrants and American Labor (selected by Barnes and Noble as one of the Ten Best Nonfiction Books of 1998),The New Chinatown and Chinatown, New York: Labor and Politics 1930-1950. He is a frequent contributor to The Nation and the International New York Times and writes a bi-weekly column on Asia, syndicated worldwide by Agence Global. His exposés of Chinese drug syndicates and Los Angeles racial riots have been Pulitzer Prize nominees.

Kwong is also a documentary filmmaker, a recipient of a CINE Golden Eagle Award, and most recently a co-producer of Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province for HBO, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2010.  He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Ida Susser, Professor and Chair, Anthropology, has conducted ethnographic research in the U.S., Southern Africa and Puerto Rico, concerning urban social movements and the urban commons, gender, the global AIDS epidemic and environmental movements.

Her recent publications include: Norman Street: Poverty and Politics in an Urban Neighborhood (Oxford University Press 2012), and AIDS, Sex and Culture: Global Politics and Survival in Southern Africa (Wiley-Blackwell 2009), which was awarded the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize for research on women and health, by the Society for Medical Anthropology in 2012.  She received an award for Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America from the Society for the Anthropology of North America, is past president of the American Ethnological Society and founding president of the Society for the Anthropology of North America.

Susser was co-chair of the Social Science Track for the 2008 Mexico City International AIDS Society Conference, co-chair of the AAA Commission of World Anthropologies and is a founding member of the steering committee of Athena: Advancing Gender Equity and Human Rights in the Global Response to HIV/AIDS.  She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Vishaan Chakrabarti, AIA, Holliday Professor and Director of the Center for Urban Real Estate at Columbia University, is a partner at SHoP Architects where he co-leads the design for major projects worldwide including the Domino Sugar redevelopment on Brooklyn’s waterfront, the Andy Warhol Museum, new skyscrapers in New York City, a 1.6 million square-foot mixed-use tower in central Melbourne, a new embassy for the State Department, and large-scale urban infrastructure work in New York, Dallas and Detroit.

His recent book, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America (Metropolis Books, 2013), argues that a more urban United States would result in a more prosperous, sustainable, joyous, and socially mobile nation. In the Huffington Post, Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradlee named it as one of the top ten books of 2013.  Prior to joining Columbia and SHoP, Chakrabarti was the president of Moynihan Station Venture, and remains dedicated to the reconstruction of New York’s Pennsylvania Station.

From 2002 to 2005, Chakrabarti served as the Director of the Manhattan Office of the New York Department of City Planning where he successfully led efforts to save the High Line, rezone Hudson Yards, extend the #7 subway line, and reincorporate the street grid at the World Trade Center site after the tragic events of 9/11.  He holds master’s degrees in architecture from the University of California at Berkeley and in City Planning from MIT and dual bachelor’s degrees in Art History and Engineering from Cornell University.



Download as a PDF: Issue Brief Press Release