The UB Affordable Housing Symposium

April 10, 2018 | Hayes Hall | UB South Campus

The School of Architecture and Planning is convening leading scholars and practitioners across the planning, architecture and real estate development professions to explore current conditions and future trends in housing policy, design and finance, and to consider new models for high-quality, affordable housing. The symposium kicks off a new program at the school to design and build affordable housing prototypes for Buffalo and cities like it across the U.S. 

Housing in Buffalo.

April 10, 2018
7:30 am - 2:00 pm
Hayes Hall 403
UB South Campus


Highlights of our agenda for the UB Affordable Housing Symposium:

Keynote Addresses

  • Henry Cisneros | Founder and Chairman, CityView; former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Donald A. Capoccia (BA '78) | Managing Principal, BFC Partners

Panel Sessions

  • Creating Effective Public Policy
  • Innovation in Architecture, Design and Construction
  • Real Estate Finance, and Deal Making in a Capital Constrained Market

Full Agenda

Continental Breakfast




Welcome and Introductions



Dennis M. Penman, Symposium Chair

Penman Development Partners

Buffalo, NY


Robert G. Shibley

Dean and Professor

School of Architecture and Planning

University at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY


Keynote Speaker


Henry Cisneros

Founder and Chairman, CityView

Former Secretary of US Department of

Housing and Urban Development

Former Mayor of San Antonio, TX

San Antonio, TX


Networking Break




Panel Session 1


Creating Effective Public Policy


Alfred D. Price, moderator

Associate Professor

Department of Urban and Regional Planning University at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY


Brendan Mehaffy

Executive Director

Office of Strategic Planning

City of Buffalo, NY


Jolie Milstein

President & CEO

New York State Association for Affordable Housing

New York, NY


Robert M. Silverman


Department of Urban and Regional Planning University at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY


Megan Haberle

Director, Housing Policy

Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Washington, DC


Networking Break




Panel Session 2


Real Estate Finance and Deal Making in a Capital Constrained Market


Rachel Hezel Rzayev, Esq. moderator

Cannon Heyman & Weiss, LLP

Buffalo, NY


Lawrence Curtis

President and CEO

Winn Development

Boston, MA


Nicole Ferreira

Senior Vice President, Multifamily Finance New York State Homes and Community Renewal

Albany, NY


Linda Goodman

Senior Vice President

Norstar Development

Buffalo, NY


Richard Roberts

Principal and Managing Director

Red Stone Equity Partners

New York, NY


Networking Break and Exhibition




Faculty and Student Presentations

Panel Session 3


Innovations in Architecture, Design and Construction


Alex Morris, moderator

Senior Associate

WRT Design,

Philadelphia, PA


José Galarza



University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT


Omar Hakeem

Design Director

building community WORKSHOP

Washington, DC


Jenifer Kaminsky

Director of Planning and Community Development

Buffalo Neighborhood Stabilization Company PUSH Buffalo

Buffalo, NY


Rusty Smith

Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Architecture

Associate Director of Rural Studio

Auburn University School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture

Auburn, AL


Luncheon and Special Guest Speaker


Dean and Professor Robert G. Shibley


Donald A. Capoccia

Managing Principal

BFC Partners

New York, NY

Keynote Speaker Biographies

Henry Cisneros

Henry Cisneros.

Henry Cisneros is Chairman of the CityView companies, which work with urban homebuilders to create homes priced within the range of average families. CityView is a partner in building more than 60 communities in 13 states, incorporating more than 7,000 homes with a home value of over $2 billion. Mr. Cisneros is a Principal and Chairman of the Executive Committee for Siebert, Cisneros, Shank, & Co., L.L.C a municipal finance firm and a top corporate underwriting firm in Wall Street.  Mr. Cisneros’ community-building career began at the local level. After serving three terms as a City Councilmember, in 1981, Mr. Cisneros became the first Hispanic-American mayor of a major U.S. city, San Antonio, Texas. During his four terms as Mayor, he helped rebuild the city’s economic base and spurred the creation of jobs through massive infrastructure and downtown improvements.

In 1984, Mr. Cisneros was interviewed by the Democratic Presidential nominee as a possible candidate for Vice President of the United States and in 1986 was selected as the “Outstanding Mayor” in the nation by City and State Magazine. After completing four terms as Mayor, Mr. Cisneros formed Cisneros Asset Management Company, a fixed income management firm operating nationally and ranked at the time as the second fastest growing money manager in the nation.

In 1992, President Clinton appointed Mr. Cisneros to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. As a member of President Clinton’s Cabinet, Secretary Cisneros was credited with initiating the revitalization of many of the nation’s public housing developments and with formulating policies which contributed to achieving the nation’s highest ever homeownership rate. In his role as the President’s chief representative to the nation’s cities, Mr. Cisneros personally worked in more than 200 U.S. cities in every one of the 50 states.

After leaving HUD in 1997, Mr. Cisneros was president and chief operating officer of Univision Communications, the Spanish-language broadcaster which has become the fifth-most-watched television network in the nation. Mr. Cisneros currently serves on Univision’s Board of Directors. Mr. Cisneros has served as President of the National League of Cities, as Deputy Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and is currently an officer of Habitat for Humanity International. Mr. Cisneros remains active in San Antonio’s leadership where he is former Chairman of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, and BioMed SA. He is a former member of the advisory board of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Mr. Cisneros has been inducted into the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) “Builders Hall of Fame” and honored by the National Housing Conference as the “Housing Person of the Year.”

Mr. Cisneros has also been author or editor of several books including: Interwoven Destinies: Cities and the Nation. His book project with former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp, Opportunity and Progress: A Bipartisan Platform for National Housing Policy, was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Silver Medal in the category of best business book of 2006. In 2017 he co-authored “Building Equitable Cities” and co-authored “Kerner Commission Report: 50th Anniversary”.

Mr. Cisneros holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Texas A&M University. He earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University, studied urban economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, holds a Doctorate in Public Administration from George Washington University, and has been awarded more than 20 honorary doctorates from leading universities. He served as an infantry officer in the United States Army. 

Donald Capoccia

Donald Capoccia .

Donald Capoccia is an urban developer in the fullest sense, combining his career of building in New York City with civic activities devoted to public arts and architecture initiatives. As the managing principal of BFC Partners, Capoccia spearheads the firm’s focus on constructing affordable housing in emerging neighborhoods. Under his guidance, BFC Partners was the first developer in New York City to mix low and middle-income restricted apartments with market-rate rentals. To further encourage this building trend, Capoccia was a founding member in 1998 of the New York State Affordable Housing Association. Today, his association works to increase affordable housing programs and subsidies.

Affordable Housing Initiative Steering Committee

  • Dennis M. Penman, Penman Development Partners | Symposium Chair
  • Donald A. Capoccia, Managing Principal, BFC Partners (’78)
  • Stephanie Cramer, Instructor in Architecture, School of Architecture and Planning, University at Buffalo  
  • Franklin E. Dickinson, Senior Vice President, Architecture & Construction, LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton (’85)
  • Mark R. Foerster, Senior Fellow, Real Estate Development, School of Architecture and Planning, University at Buffalo
  • George I. Gellman, Partner, Benchmark Group
  • Diane Georgopulos, former Manager, Design and Construction, MassHousing (’73) 
  • Robert R. Hill, Assistant Dean, School of Architecture and Planning, University at Buffalo
  • Alex Morris, Senior Associate, WRT Design (’94)
  • Edward Steinfeld, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture and Planning, University at Buffalo  
  • Steven J. Weiss, Managing Partner, Cannon Heyman & Weiss, LLP (’91)
  • Dale White, Development Manager, Jonathan Rose Companies (’05)  

The UB Affordable Housing Initiative: Imagining. Innovating. Building.

Students work on an affordable housing project in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. The project was part of a recent studio on inclusive design models for affordable housing, led by Ed Steinfeld.

Although the City of Buffalo has experienced a resurgence, it has inadequate high-quality housing that is affordable to a significant portion of its population. Like many cities, affordable housing in Buffalo has been heavily dependent on the availability of investments through low-income housing tax credits, the future availability of which is uncertain. 

Through coursework, research and participation in studios, architecture, real estate development and urban planning students and faculty will plan, design and ultimately build single-family or multi-family housing prototypes for underserved neighborhoods on Buffalo's East or West Side. Prototypes will be replicable both for Buffalo and cities like it across the U.S. The design-build project will also consider innovative design and construction materials and techniques. 

Updates and Related News

State-sponsored housing projects dating back to the socialist era are a ubiquitous presence across Eastern Europe, particularly in the Baltic Countries. Housing Estates in the Baltic Countries , the latest book edited by Daniel B. Hess, UB professor and chairperson of urban planning, focuses on the formation and later socio-spatial trajectories of such projects in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Dylan Burns, who will graduate this week with his MArch/MUP degree, recently shared findings from his thesis research on design strategies for optimizing resiliency, affordability and lifespan values in infill housing. 
The School of Architecture and Planning recently gathered more than 150 leaders in affordable housing to consider policy, design and building solutions to an issue that has reached crisis proportions in cities across the U.S. 

A new initiative within the School of Architecture and Planning will begin addressing one of the largest needs facing U.S. cities today: affordable housing.


Take a quick look at our featured guests at next week's Affordable Housing Symposium convening leading scholars and practitioners to explore current conditions and future trends in housing policy, design and finance, and to consider new models for high-quality, affordable housing.


The issue of affordable housing is a nationwide concern, and University at Buffalo students are making strides to address the problem at home.


Urban planning professor Robert Silverman, in collaboration with Ken Chilton of the Department of Public Administration, Tennessee State University, are investigating the effects of single-family home real estate investment trusts (REITs) on regional housing markets, specifically in Nashville, TN. 

Thank you to the following generous supporters of UB's Affordable Housing Initiative:

Don Capoccia  ’78 | Tim Dempsey ’94 | Franklin Dickinson ’85 | Scott Lesh ’95 | Alex Morris ’91, ’94 | Cannon Heyman & Weiss | LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton | Anonymous

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AIA Continuing Education credits are also available for this event: 3 LUs