Managing the design, renovation, and construction of many public facilities, New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) functions to meet the demanding capital needs of the City. While DDC’s work is prolific with a 2018 annual budget of $526 million, budgetary limitations require City leaders to make choices to balance a variety of competing needs. Weighing these needs becomes more difficult in the absence of a method to quantify and compare the impacts of various capital projects.

In response, a team of graduate consultants at Columbia University developed a quantitative model to assess the external impact of capital projects on neighborhoods. Building upon the findings of earlier research that measured the impact of a renovated library in Staten Island, the team used the existing hedonic regression model to analyze ten library projects across the five boroughs. The team focused on the impact of newly constructed or heavily renovated libraries on property values, as evidenced by actual home sales.

The team’s findings suggest that (1) the impact of new library construction on its surrounding neighborhood can vary greatly, and that (2) the impact of heavy library renovations on libraries is statistically insignificant. However, the team recommended further research and analysis on an increased sample size of library projects to explore the theories presented in this report. The team also suggested improving the model and methodology by selecting capital projects from a similar time period, attaining an up-to-date dataset, improving the data recording system, and assigning a data programmer to facilitate data exploration and extend the analytic capabilities of the project.