Vicki Been

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Vicki Been
EducationColorado State University (BA)
New York University (JD)
Spouse(s)Richard Revesz
Scientific career
FieldsProperty law
Land use
InstitutionsNew York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development
New York University School of Law

Vicki L. Been is an American lawyer, public servant, and professor. She is the Deputy Mayor of Housing and Economic Development for New York City and a former commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. She is a law professor at the New York University School of Law and has served as director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.

Early life and education[edit]

Been was born and raised in Naturita, Colorado, a mining and ranching town. She graduated from Colorado State University, after paying her entrance fees partially with a scholarship she won in a cooking competition.[1] After working for Consumers Union, she received a J.D. degree from the New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden scholar.[2] Upon graduation, she clerked for judge Edward Weinfeld of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Then she clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Harry Blackmun from 1984 to 1985.[3] During her clerkship, she met her husband, Richard Revesz, who was clerking for Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall.[4]

Academic career and scholarship[edit]

After working for the Iran-Contra investigation and as an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton, Been began her academic career in 1988, joining the faculty of Rutgers-Newark School of Law, as an assistant professor.[5][6] In 1990, she moved to NYU Law School. She achieved tenure in 1994 and currently serves as the Boxer Family professor of law.[7] In 2004, she was named director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.[8]

Been's scholarly interests include property law, land use, and housing law.[9] She began her academic career as one of the first law professors to address the area of environmental justice, focusing on equity considerations of the siting of undesirable land uses. She later turned her focus to the study of takings and eminent domain, writing articles on Supreme Court cases Palazzolo v. Rhode Island and Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council. As Director of the Furman Center, she has written extensively on New York City housing issues, publishing an annual State of New York City's Housing and Neighborhoods.[10] She has also written on impact fees, foreclosures, community benefits agreements, parking requirements, inclusionary zoning, second liens, and assessing the impact of Superstorm Sandy on New York City neighborhoods.[5]

In 2008, she was named an affiliated professor of public policy at NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

She is a member of the American Law Institute.[11]

Public service career[edit]

Been has served on the boards of the Municipal Art Society,[12] Next City, the Center for New York City Neighborhoods,[13] and the Pratt Center for Community Development.

Housing Preservation and Development commissioner[edit]

On February 8, 2014, New York mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Been would serve as the next commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.[14] She succeeded RuthAnne Visnaukas in that role.[15]

During Been's tenure, she undertook several initiatives to increase affordable housing in the city. In February 2016, Been defended a zoning proposal to allow taller buildings in exchange for more affordable housing units.[16] In March 2016, Been gave a speech promoting her plan to foster development in East New York.[17] A March 2016 report found growing demand for affordable housing, and Been explained the city's policy was to encourage developers to build more housing units.[18] In May 2016, her office stated it received 2.5 million applications for 2,600 affordable apartments in the city program.[19] In October 2016, she promoted the city's update of the Lambert Houses in the Bronx.[20] In November 2016, her office initiated enforcement action seeking to make city landlords of affordable housing "play by the rules" or risk losing valuable tax exemptions.[21]

On January 17, 2017, she announced she would step down as commissioner and return to teaching full time at New York University.[22][23][24][25] Her departure came amidst resignations by other aides in the city administration.[26][27]

Deputy Mayor[edit]

On April 4, 2019, New York mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Been would serve as the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Been lives with her husband, Richard Revesz, the current director of the American Law Institute, and former dean of the NYU School of Law, and their two children, in New York City.[29]


  1. ^ Goldenberg, Sally. "De Blasio's housing commissioner to step down for teaching and research job". Politico. Politico. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  2. ^ Vicki L. Been Curriculum Vitae
  3. ^ Peppers, Todd C. (2006). Courtiers of the Marble Palace: The Rise and Influence of the Supreme Court Law Clerk. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. p. 219. ISBN 0804753822. Retrieved August 11, 2017. Appendix 4, Harry Blackmun, entry for Vicki Been.
  4. ^ Vicki L. Been Wed to Richard Revesz, New York Times, November 6, 1989. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  5. ^ a b ""Rebuilding After Sandy: What's Fair?" Topic of April 4 Rutgers–Newark Law School Lecture". Rutgers University. March 14, 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2017. Vicki L. Been...a former member of the Rutgers School of Law–Newark faculty
  6. ^ "Class of 1991 Alumni Directory" (PDF). Rutgers Law School. Retrieved August 11, 2017. T. J. Hester, "Reflections on Law School": "And of course there were comings and goings:...Vicki Been."
  7. ^ "Gentrification, Displacement and Instability in Housing Market". University of Baltimore, Office of Government and Public Affairs. July 3, 2017. Retrieved August 11, 2017. will feature a keynote address and opening session, "Gentrification, Displacement, and Housing Instability: Successful Strategies and Tools to Sustain Neighborhood Diversity," delivered by Vicki L. Been, Boxer Family Professor of Law at the NYU School of Law and faculty director of the NYU Furman Center.
  8. ^ Faunce, Lexi (March 7, 2016). "SLAM Protests to Rename Moelis Institute". Washington Square News. Retrieved August 11, 2017. the city's head of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development Vicki Been ran the Furman Institute for Real Estate and Urban Policy at NYU
  9. ^ Biography of Vicki Been, NYU Law School ("Been, who has been on the faculty of NYU School of Law since 1990, is one of the nation's leading scholars at the intersection of land use, urban policy and affordable housing.")
  10. ^ "State of New York City's Housing & Neighborhoods – 2016 Report". Furman Center, New York University. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "Vicki L. Been, elected member". American Law Institute. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  12. ^ "MAS Announces Two New Directors". Municipal Art Society. September 7, 2009. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  13. ^ Board of Directors, Center for NYC Neighborhoods (2016).
  14. ^ Navarro, Mireya (February 4, 2014). "Affordability Will Be Focus for New Housing Leaders". New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  15. ^ Colvin, Jill (2 February 2014). "Bill de Blasio Appoints Members of Housing 'Dream Team'". Politicker. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  16. ^ Durkin, Erin (February 10, 2016). "Mayor de Blasio's zoning plan — featuring taller buildings for affordable housing and fewer parking spaces — presented to City Council". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  17. ^ Durkin, Erin (March 7, 2016). "City Housing Preservation and Development boss defends controversial plan to bring more residential buildings to East New York". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  18. ^ Durkin, Erin (March 3, 2016). "Exclusive: Majorities of black and Latino families make too little to qualify for de Blasio's affordable housing plan, analysis finds". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  19. ^ Durkin, Erin (May 11, 2016). "Over 2.5 million people applied for just 2,600 available affordable housing units this year". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  20. ^ Barron, James (October 27, 2016). "Rebirth of Bronx Housing Complex Aims to Cut Crime and Increase Homes". New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  21. ^ Gartland, Michael (November 16, 2016). "Landlords at risk of losing tax exemptions". New York Post. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  22. ^ "Press release: Mayor De Blasio Appoints Maria Torres-Springer Next Commissioner For Department of Housing Preservation And Development And James Patchett President & CEO Of New York City Economic Development Corporation". New York City Economic Development Corporation. January 17, 2017. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  23. ^ Fermino, Jennifer (January 17, 2017). "New York City's housing commissioner resigns". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  24. ^ Gonen, Yoav (January 17, 2017). "NYC housing chief leaving to teach at NYU". New York Post. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  25. ^ Smith, Greg B. (August 8, 2017). "Lawsuit claims de Blasio is hiding affordable housing info that shows city is supporting segregation". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 11, 2017. department's former commissioner, Vicki Been
  26. ^ Neuman, William (May 29, 2017). "Why Have So Many Women Quit on Mayor de Blasio?". New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  27. ^ Gartland, Michael (May 18, 2017). "De Blasio's chief digital officer leaves administration". New York Post. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  28. ^ "Mayor de Blasio Appoints Vicki Been as New Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development". The official website of the City of New York. April 4, 2019. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  29. ^ "Richard L. Revesz of NYU Is ALI Director Designate" (PDF). The ALI Reporter. Winter 2014. Retrieved August 11, 2017.

Selected publications and interviews[edit]