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Application Deadline for Enrolled UM Students: Real Estate Development Graduate Certificate

March 1, 2011 at 11:59 pm

The built environment (real estate and infrastructure) is the largest asset class in the U.S. economy, comprising 35% of the country’s wealth. The built environment is also responsible for over 70% of the energy usage and CO2 emissions, making it the greatest contributor to climate change.

Real estate shapes our physical environment and, to a large extent, determines how we all live, work, and play. It also directly or indirectly affects energy consumption, global climate change, social relations and equity, public finance, foreign policy, capital markets, and personal and corporate wealth creation. Long a consumer of locally generated finance, it became the newest global financial asset class in the 1990s, joining stocks, bonds, and cash. There is also a downside to the role real estate plays; two of the last three recessions have been primarily caused by a downturn in real estate.

As a result of the increased interest of Wall Street and the Federal Reserve in this new asset class, real estate has become commodified and narrowly defined as a series of standard product types. This commodification of the industry is thought to have been necessary to facilitate its trading in the large volumes financial markets require. Most of these standard products tend to be built in a low-density, sprawling fashion. These standard product types are generally exclusively served by automobile, and their form is largely determined by parking and access by the car, described as “drivable sub-urban.” Most zoning ordinances in the United States legally mandate this form of development. The real estate industry, including developers, bankers, investors, and consultants, has all been trained in drivable sub-urban. This low-density development is, for some, the very meaning of the current American Dream. However, it has been shown to spawn many unintended negative social, economic, fiscal, and environmental consequences.

The University of Michigan real estate program is committed to the new American Dream: a progressive approach to developing real estate and the built environment in the U.S. and world-wide. For more information: taubmancollege.umich.edu/realestate


March 1, 2011
11:59 pm