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November 1, 2013

Seth Pinsky joins SIPA as research scholar, senior fellow

Former NYCEDC head will study affordable housing in New York City.

Seth Pinsky, an executive vice president at RXR Realty who served for more than five years as president of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, has joined Columbia SIPA as a senior research scholar (part-time) and a senior fellow.

Pinsky will conduct a research study on New York City’s affordable housing programs. The study aims to evaluate New York’s current approaches for providing affordable housing, and will consider if the city should explore alternative models that may be more effective.

“We are pleased to welcome Seth Pinsky back to Columbia and SIPA,” said Dean Merit E. Janow. “He has an extraordinary record as leader of New York City's top development agency, and it will be an asset to our community to Include such a distinguished public-service practitioner and leader in city government.”

“It’s very exciting for to me to be back home at Columbia, which I attended for four years as an undergraduate and at which I later taught for two years as an adjunct faculty member at SIPA,” Pinsky said. “After the experience of working in the Bloomberg administration, I’m excited to join one of the country’s leading universities, and I look forward to exploring important issues of public policy with students and faculty.”

As RXR’s executive vice president, fund manager for metro emerging markets, and public affairs director, Pinsky is now leading RXR’s efforts to invest in developing markets in and around New York City.

Before joining RXR earlier this year, Pinsky led the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). He was appointed president by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2008 after joining the agency as a vice president in 2003.

During Pinsky’s tenure, NYCEDC became an international leader in the field of economic development, working to modernize the city’s underlying economy and improve its physical infrastructure. Pinsky served as a lead negotiator on the city’s behalf for projects including two new baseball stadiums, the World Trade Center, and Hunters Point South, the city’s largest middle-income housing development in more than 30 years.

Under Pinsky’s leadership NYCEDC also pursued major redevelopment projects in all five boroughs, including Willets Point in Queens, Coney Island in Brooklyn, the Homeport in Staten Island, Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx, and many others.

At the mayor’s request, Pinsky also directed a key planning initiative for rebuilding hard-hit neighborhoods following Hurricane Sandy.

Pinsky noted that his previous course at SIPA was called Economic Development during Economic Downturns. “My hope is that I will not be able to teach that course for many years to come,” he said.

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