New York University has announced a $40 million gift from entrepreneur and philanthropist Donald B. Marron to establish the Marron Institute on Cities and the Urban Environment.
The institute, which university officials expect to become a hub for work on cities and the urban environment at NYU, will sponsor significant interdisciplinary research, develop curricular initiatives, provide a vibrant academic community for scholars and students, and help cities around the world become more livable, sustainable, and equitable. It also will work to advance the university's research and teaching on key problems confronting cities and the urban environment by bringing together a network of scholars and research centers and advancing a multidisciplinary approach to urban questions that draws from the fields of public health, environmental and land use law, energy economics, social policy, history, urban planning, and urban systems, informatics, and engineering.
Marron, a former chairman of Paine Webber and the founder and current chairman of Lightyear Capital, will serve as chair of the institute's advisory board and will work to help put faculty research into action and ensure that the institute is aware of the most current urban challenges. Richard Revesz, currently dean of NYU's School of Law, will step down from that post to lead the institute.
"For the first time in history, more than half the world's population lives in cities. There is no doubt that cities are fundamental to our global future, and there is no doubt that NYU — based in the heart of the greatest urban laboratory on the planet — should be the global leader in the study of cities," said NYU President John Sexton. "Cities are more than just infrastructure and technology; they are also social interactions, culture, and neighborhoods....What Don Marron's gift does is to knit together the outstanding research already underway in so many disciplines, and provide us with the resources to foster new cutting edge approaches to the teaching of cities and the urban environment."