02/22/2021 | by
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REITs with a focus on urban areas and inner-city development recognize the value proposition of investing in communities of color, according to Dustin Jones, academic director of U.S. graduate programs at NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate. In a recent video interview with Nareit, Jones discussed methods that REITs should be looking at in order to increase diversity in the industry, including the importance of metrics.

“Where performance is measured, performance improves,” Jones said. “The folks that are in positions of power, authority, and influence within their organizations need to have the conversation and need to make it a priority.”

Turning to the curriculum at Schack, Jones said that all three master’s degree programs have a “thread of equity…in every conversation, whether they’re taking a real estate finance class [or] a financial modeling class.”

“Real estate is a physical, tangible asset that ultimately is developed, built, and owned as part of a community,” Jones said. “You can’t extract real estate from the community where the property is located, and so understanding the impact of real estate on communities—understanding its impact on communities of color particularly—is something that we’ve had a lot of conversations about.”

Jones added that Schack is looking at ways to engage historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in conversations about urban development and renewal, as well as ways to improve communities and economic development.