Situating Students


The scarcity of land as well as the evolution of real estate development in New York City has long been analyzed and contested.  The complicated systems that govern the land have consistently and repeatedly left many with few options for housing and/or basic human rights. This project focuses on situating students within the city’s affordability crisis by analyzing the relationship between private institutional entities and real estate development.  By using a combination of qualitative and quantitative research, as well as tracing the historical evolution of the FIRE and ICE economies, this project seeks to inform, connect and catalyze conversations to highlight the role of students within the economic housing and development system. Our posters seek to provide a holistic narrative of the urban university to illuminate the role students’ have in a seemingly invisible macro economic system.


The three-part poster presents information about the relationship between private urban universities in New York City (NYU, The New School, and Columbia included here) and the affordable housing crisis.  Each poster demonstrates a different mode of representing information: 1) narrative text and infographic illustration, 2) city maps, 3) personal responses collected from students at The New School.  The three sections are meant to be shown together in succession, but are also designed to stand alone if necessary.

The poster format provides a visualization of the relationship between New York City, private postsecondary institutions, and the students who attend these institutions. More specifically, the information presented here exposes the connections between private institutional real estate development and student financing. These visual aids are meant to act together as a catalyst for campus dialogue about university development projects, funding, and the impact on students.

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Resources of Interest 

Andrew Ross, “Strike Debt – Debt & Growth,” teach-in at the Free University, September 20, 2012. Video accessed at

Ivory Tower documentary:

John Sexton, “Fire and Ice: The Knowledge Century and the Urban University,” speech given on August 10, 2007. Accessed October 2014 at

Tom Angotti. (2008). New York for sale: Community planning confronts global real estate. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

“Where 600 College Students Live Above the Store,” The New York Times, December 31, 2013. Accessed October 2014 at

Map sources:

Pelham, N.Y, “Sanborn Manhattan Land Book of the City of New York,” Sanborn Map Company, 1976

Project by: Monique Baena-Tan, Sinead Petrasek, Zeqing Hong