We recently asked a number of alumni to share their reflections on the value of their DUSP education. From time to time, we will feature their responses in this space.
"Real estate development in New York City tests my creative energies every day. The development process is never boring. There are so many ways to create or lose value: negotiating the purchase of a site, deciding on the form of the building and the materials to use, scoping unit layouts and building amenities, finding the right debt and equity capital, and buying out the construction. And you still have to get the damn thing approved and built! You have to solve problems every minute of every day.
At DUSP I learned to think about inner city development from differing points of view. Many of the DUSP faculty forced me to wrestle with urban development issues by challenging conventional wisdom. I am often reminded of specific courses: issues in housing with Langley Keyes and Art Solomon; statistics with Mark Schuster, economics with Bennett Harrison and Bill Wheaton, and Mel King's breakfast gathering on neighborhood development. I like to believe that my education at DUSP made me a more sophisticated analyst of properties and their place in the fabric of the city, and enabled me to better anticipate problems.
DUSP is the kind of place where what you get out of the experience follows directly from the effort you put into it. I have been fortunate over the past 40 years to have participated in the transformative revival of the city that I love – going from “the Bronx is Burning” to Brooklyn as the center of the universe – and I can't help but think that my education at DUSP established the right framework for what I was later able to accomplish.
Alan Bell, MCP 1977, is a Principal of B&B Supportive LLC, a developer of affordable housing for special needs populations. Alan was Co-Founder and, for nearly 25 years, a Principal of The Hudson Companies Inc., a leading developer of housing in New York City. Alan has developed almost 5,000 new housing units with 50% dedicated to low and moderate income households. Visit www.hudsoninc.com.