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W. P. Carey School real estate initiative to address challenges of large land ownership

Vanessa Hickman
January 28, 2015

How do you balance the needs of economic development, a growing population and our natural resources? A new real estate initiative at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University will help address many of the issues involved in the ownership and management of large amounts of land by both public and private parties.

The unique Large Landowner Initiative will focus on real estate planning, related policy, economic impacts and natural resource management.

“This innovative effort will assist members of the real estate community, government officials and others concerned about the future of community development and how to grow wisely,” explains Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “This new initiative joins the school’s highly regarded real estate programs and business initiatives that foster an understanding of best practices for public and private entities.”

The new initiative in the W. P. Carey School’s Finance Department is aimed at establishing a collaborative dialogue to gather, analyze and disseminate information about big land issues, and to help drive responsible public policy on a global scale. This will benefit governments, the military, agricultural and grazing interests, the mining industry, the real estate industry and, most importantly, the public.

The program will be headed up by Vanessa Hickman, who recently served as Arizona’s state land commissioner. She was responsible for maximizing the value of a 9.2-million-acre real estate trust. She brings extensive expertise in the areas of real estate law, land-use planning and zoning, development agreements, natural resource management and state trust lands.

“I am very happy to have made an impact on Arizona during my years as state land commissioner,” says Hickman. “Now, I look forward to taking that public-sector experience and my law background and combining them with the academic resources available at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business. We hope to have an impact across the state, as well as on a global scale.”

Hickman serves as vice president of the Western States Land Commissioners Association, is a member of the Urban Land Institute Advisory Board and the Valley Partnership board of directors, and was formerly a member of the Arizona State Parks Board, the governor’s advisory panel on strategic military affairs and the State Energy Board, which develops recommendations for the U.S. Department of Energy. She is also a frequent speaker on natural resources, renewable energy, mitigation, land-use law, urban planning and real estate development.

In addition, Hickman has served on the ASU Real Estate Council, a group generously donating toward these new efforts designed to help advance research opportunities on the issues surrounding large land development.

“Our mission is to foster broad collaboration to study the synthesis between the full spectrum of business and natural resource management,” adds Hickman. “We hope to fill the need for an organization to facilitate dialogue among the stakeholders. We want to explore the issues and their impacts in-depth and offer management practices that maximize value for everyone.”