Socially Responsible Real Estate Development

The massive Forest City mixed use project, located in Johor Bahru, Malaysia is being developed by one of China’s largest real estate developers, Country Garden Holdings, Ltd. Possible environmental, social and economic impacts of the project have generated substantial controversy, within Malaysia, and internationally, specifically with neighboring Singapore. A team led by Professor Lawrence Susskind is preparing an in-depth analysis of the political, social, ecological and economic aspects of the Forrest City project and the ways in which Country Garden Holdings has responded to demands that it take sustainability seriously. The Forest City Study will provide the basis for a role-play simulation that can be used to help real estate students learn how to better account for sustainable development concerns and interact with angry stakeholders at the local, regional, national and international levels. We are also interested in learning about about the ways that Chinese development companies see their corporate social responsibility (especially when they operate outside of China). The findings and analysis of the team has produced a new massive open online course (MOOC), an innovative multimedia and interactive case study, and a series of journal articles pertaining the evaluation and valuing of ecosystem services.

Shifting The Burden: Using a Questionnaire and Panel Review to Ensure that Ecosystem Services are Taken into Account in Project

Natural ecosystems are being lost to development in fast-growing countries around the world. While land development may often be a desirable objective, conversion from one land use to another rarely takes account of the myriad benefits that natural ecosystems, directly or indirectly, provide to humans. This is because markets often fail to capture the value of these benefits monetarily. If there were an easy way to compute the market value of ecosystem services, and local regulations required that their loss be taken into account, the disincentives to development that requires large-scale conversion of natural ecosystems would likely be substantially higher.

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EdX: Socially-Responsible Real Estate Development

How can you determine if a proposed real estate development project is socially responsible? Or determine whether the developer used the tools of social impact assessment (SIA), environmental impact assessment (EIA), and public consultation effectively?

This course will teach you how to evaluate a development project and practice socially responsible real estate yourself by applying SIA, EIA, and consultation methods. It is also designed to help students build their own personal theory of what constitutes socially responsible real estate development.

Taught by a professor with more than forty-five years of teaching experience at MIT, using an applied case study method, this course will open new opportunities for real estate developers and urban planners to see how SIA, EIA, and stakeholder engagement are the keys to creating socially-responsible real estate development throughout the world.

RPS: Negotiating a Real Estate Megaproject in Asia

This negotiation roleplay is meant to accompany the MIT Forest City Case study and provide readers a chance to further engage with the materials while practicing key negotiation skills. It is also included as part of the EdX course SRRDx2: Creating Shared Benefits in Real Estate Development. The negotiation should only be completed after completing the entire Forest City case study, which provides key background information.

This is a five or three-party, multi-issue negotiation (depending on the number of available participants) between economic, environmental, social, government, and political interests around the future of the Forest City real estate project in Johor, Malaysia. It illustrates the need to consider and balance competing interests, benefits, and costs around large-scale real estate developments and other large projects.

Digital Case Study: Forest City: A Case Study of a Real Estate Megaproject in Asia

The MIT Case Study Initiative builds multimedia curriculum for urban planning, public policy, and real estate development education at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional development levels. MIT Case Studies immerse students into real-world scenarios addressing pressing social issues, such as gentrification, planning for climate change, multi-national real estate development, and equitable transit-oriented development.

Through an innovative production process that combines academic research, documentary-style filmmaking, and user experience design, we collaborate with MIT faculty in the School of Architecture + Planning to transform a proven teaching tool – the case study – into a digital learning environment. Multimedia cases merge text, videos, photos, documents, data, maps, assessments, and custom interactions, empowering students to problem solve and empathize with on the ground decision making. Through active learning, students respond to content that is engaging, interactive, and human.

Cases are built as linear, narrative stories, with a series of chapters that contain supplemental information for deeper dives. Each piece of content is also built to be modular, giving instructors the ability to reorder, rearrange, and even create new content. This allows instructors to construct customized cases that respond to their diverse classroom needs.