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Way Forward Conference Program

USC Lusk Center for Real Estate With The Way Forward Housing Coalition


Housing’s Contribution to Economic Development: Re-framing the Narrative

Unleashing the Housing Sector’s Potential to Drive Economic Growth and Social Equity in Emerging Markets and Developing Countries

Sponsored by Fivepoint


Program — Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Opportunity Cost of the Status Quo on Housing  —  Laying the Foundation

Richard K. Green, Director, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, University of Southern California

  • This session will outline the positive side of housing investment, which is often underestimated, as well as the associated opportunity cost when housing is not considered.


Vernon Henderson, School Professor of Economic Geography, London School of Economics and Political Science

The Elephant in the Room: Housing is an Important Economic Sector

Moderator: Dean Cira, Lead Urban Specialist, World Bank

  • What is housing's role in the economy—as consumption and investment; as a stock and as a flow?
  • This panel will explore the connections between housing and growth rates, business cycles, and key distributional outcomes. Panelists will draw on research, data, and country examples to reveal housing’s contributions to an efficient and equitable housing sector (financial, macroeconomic, and the "real" side of the housing market), and the indicators that can help track these contributions.


Emile Haddad, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, FivePoint Holdings, LLC


Program  — Thursday, September 8, 2022

How to Build a Fair and Efficient Housing Market

Moderator: Siqi Zheng, STL Champion Professor of Urban and Real Estate Sustainability

Faculty Director, MIT Center for Real Estate (CRE); Faculty Director, MIT Sustainable Urbanization Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Building a well-functioning housing market is not rocket science. So why does it evade so many countries?  The panel will discuss challenges to building a well-functioning housing market.


  • Shallow understanding of housing and related financial markets;
  • Lack of data and quality research;
  • Need to adapt to shocks like COVID-19, immigration/refugees, and climate change; and
  • Challenge of finding the right time in various political climates to introduce improved housing policies.

Scaling Housing Production Requires Finance

Moderator: Marja Hoek-Smit, Director/Founder, International Housing Finance Program, Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center, Wharton

  • Housing is a capital-intensive sector that requires finance to scale. In a well-functioning housing finance system, different types of finance to expand affordable housing are readily available and supported by sound regulations, diverse funding sources, and effective government incentives. Yet in many EMDCs, housing finance systems are still a work in progress.
  • The panel will discuss new regulatory insights and innovative public and private sector instruments that are being explored for critical frontier markets.

Measuring Housing’s Impact Requires Data

Moderator: Arthur Acolin, Runstad Department of  Real Estate, College of Built Environments, University of Washington

  • Growth of the housing and finance sectors is constrained by lack of information. The panel will discuss the most promising sources of information for housing markets in emerging market economies.
  • This will span real-time data on the housing sector, ways to improve government data on housing markets, and exciting new data sources.