Our Team

  • Vicki Been

    Vicki Been

    Vicki Been is the Boxer Family Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, an Affiliated Professor of Public Policy of the NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and Faculty Director at NYU Furman Center. She returned to NYU in February 2017, after serving for three years as Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development for the City of New York. She has done extensive research on New York City’s land use patterns, inclusionary zoning, historic preservation, the interplay of community benefit agreements with land use practices, and on a variety of affordable housing and land use policies, including gentrification, mortgage foreclosure, racial and economic integration, and the effects of supportive housing developments on their neighbors. She is the co-author of a leading land use casebook, Land Use Controls. Vicki is a 1983 graduate of New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar. She clerked for Judge Edward Weinfeld of the Southern District of New York and for Justice Harry Blackmun of the Supreme Court of the United States.

  • Ingrid Gould Ellen

    Ingrid Gould Ellen

    Ingrid Gould Ellen is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Faculty Director of the NYU Furman Center. Her research centers on neighborhoods, housing, and residential segregation. Ingrid is author of Sharing America’s Neighborhoods: The Prospects for Stable Racial Integration (Harvard University Press, 2000) and editor of How to House the Homeless (Russell Sage Foundation, 2010). She attended Harvard University, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics, an M.P.P., and a Ph.D. in Public Policy.

  • Katherine O’Regan

    Katherine O’Regan

    Katherine O'Regan is Professor of Public Policy and Planning and faculty director of NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. She spent April, 2014 through January, 2017 in the Obama Administration, serving as the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Her primary research interests are at the intersection of poverty and space—the conditions and fortunes of poor neighborhoods and those who live in them. Her recent research includes work on a wide variety of affordable housing topics, from whether the Low Income Tax Credit contributes to increased economic and racial segregation, to whether the presence of housing voucher households contributes to neighborhood crime. Her board work includes serving on the board of the Reinvestment Fund, one of the largest community development financial institutions in the U.S. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley and spent ten years teaching at the Yale School of Management prior to joining the Wagner faculty in 2000. 

  • Jessica Yager

    Jessica Yager

    Jessica Yager is the Executive Director at the NYU Furman Center. She has led the NYU Furman Center’s policy work since 2012, first serving as Policy Director and then as Deputy Director. Prior to joining the NYU Furman Center, Jessica was the founding Director of the Foreclosure Prevention Project at Queens Legal Services. She has also worked as a senior staff attorney at the Office of the Appellate Defender; a clinical teaching fellow at the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall University School of Law; and as a law clerk to the Honorable Napoleon A. Jones, Jr., United States District Court for the Southern District of California. Jessica received a J.D. from NYU School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar, and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.

  • Maxwell Austensen

    Maxwell Austensen

    Maxwell Austensen is the Data Manager at the NYU Furman Center. He is Master of Public Administration candidate at NYU Wagner, specializing in Policy Analysis, and was previously a Research Assistant at the NYU Furman Center. Maxwell received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He is interested in program evaluation, residential segregation, and social policies that aim to reduce poverty.

  • Allex Desronvil

    Allex Desronvil

    Allex Desronvil is a Research and Policy Analyst at the NYU Furman Center. He recently earned his B.A. in Sociology from Yale University. Allex is interested in institutional inequalities and their intersections with gender and sexuality. His previous research focused on national health policy and sexual minorities' access to health services.

  • Luis Inaraja Vera

    Luis Inaraja Vera

    Luis Inaraja Vera is a Research Fellow and the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 Jonathan L. Mechanic/Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson Fellow at the NYU Furman Center. During his time in private practice, Luis worked as an associate attorney with the Land Use and Environmental Law practice group of the law firm Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira in Barcelona, Spain. He is primarily interested in the intersection of Land Use and Environmental Law and has published in the areas of soil contamination and water law. Luis holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Girona; an LL.B. from the University of Barcelona; an LL.M. from Vermont Law School; and a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where he was a Managing Editor of the NYU Environmental Law Journal. 

  • Bethany O’Neill

    Bethany O’Neill

    Bethany O’Neill is the Operations Manager at the NYU Furman Center. She earned her B.S. in Food Science & Human Nutrition from the University of Florida and her M.A. in Food Studies from New York University. Bethany is interested in food policy issues and their intersections with sustainability and urban planning.

  • Laura Vert

    Laura Vert

    Laura Vert is the Development Director at the NYU Furman Center. She previously served as the NYU Furman Center’s Fiscal and Grants Manager. Prior to that, she was the Administrative Manager at the Brooklyn Autism Center, a non-profit school that provides behavioral therapy and educational services for students on the autism spectrum. In this position, Laura was focused primarily on financial and human resource management, but also worked in the areas of development, strategic planning, special events and marketing. Laura holds a B.A. in English and American Literature from New York University’s College of Arts and Sciences and an M.P.A. from CUNY Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs. She also holds PHR (Professional in Human Resources) certification.

  • Camille Watson

    Camille Watson is the Policy Director at the NYU Furman Center. Previously, she held policy and research positions focused on improving the social, economic, and environmental conditions that impact population health. At the American Academy of Pediatrics, she led policy initiatives on social determinants of child health, including poverty, housing insecurity, and homelessness. Prior to that, she worked at Health Care For All (MA), promoting policy reforms and collaborations across government sectors, to reduce health disparities. Camille has also managed community-based research in public housing developments. She earned her Master’s degree from the Harvard University School of Public Health. 

  • Mark Willis

    Mark Willis

    Mark Willis is the Senior Policy Fellow at the NYU Furman Center. Previously, Mark served two years as interim Executive Director of the NYU Furman Center following the departure of Co-Director Vicki Been to the de Blasio administration. Before joining the NYU Furman Center, Mark was a Visiting Scholar at the Ford Foundation. He spent 19 years at JPMorgan Chase overseeing its community development program, serving as Executive Vice President and Founding President of the Chase Community Development Corporation. Mark has also held positions with the City of New York in economic development, tax policy, and housing, where he was the Deputy Commissioner for Development at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. He also worked as an urban economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Mark has a B.A. in economics from Yale University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a Ph.D. in urban economics and industrial organization from Yale University.

  • Wei You

    Wei You

    Wei You is a Research Fellow at the NYU Furman Center. His research interests focus on migration, transportation, and urban economics. His work includes using archival data to quantitatively analyze historical cities and using spatial equilibrium models to evaluate contemporary migration policies. He completed his B.A. in Economics and Mathematics at Renmin University of China, M.A. in Economics at Peking University, and his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of California, San Diego in 2017. 

  • Ken Zimmerman

    Ken Zimmerman is a Distinguished Fellow at the NYU Furman Center. Ken’s research examines new forms of social advocacy and policy development in the urban environment, with a special focus on evolving mechanisms for civic engagement and innovative approaches to address growing inequality. Ken, a noted policy maker, fair housing expert, and civil rights attorney, has devoted his career to justice and equality issues. Prior to joining the NYU Furman Center, Kenn served as the Director of U.S. Programs for the Open Society Foundations, where he oversaw the annual dissemination of over $100 million in grants to organizations focused on equality, fairness, and justice. Before joining Open Society Foundations, he served as part of the Obama Administration’s presidential transition team for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and served as senior advisor to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. Previously, he was a litigation partner for the pro bono practice group at Lowenstein Sandler PC, chief counsel to New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine, and founding Executive Director of the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice. Early in his career, Ken served as a Senior Trial Attorney, then Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Programs, in HUD’s Office of Fair Housing. He also served as a Skadden Legal Fellow at the Legal Aid Society of Alameda County, California, and at the Washington D.C. Legal Clinic for the Homeless. Ken graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Yale University in 1982 and earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School, also graduating magna cum laude, in 1988.