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National University of Singapore
4 Architecture Drive, Singapore 117566

  Office: SDE1-04-09
  Tel: +65 6516-6254
  Fax: +65 6774-8684
  Curriculum Vitae (CV): Click Here
  Research Impact: Google Scholar

Kwan Ok LEE is Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Dean's Chair in the Department of Real Estate at the National University of Singapore (NUS). She is also the Deputy Head in the NUS Department of Real Estate for the graduate programs. She won the NUS Annual Teaching Excellence Award for 2016/2017 as well as the School Teaching Excellence Award for 2015/6, 2016/7, and 2018/9.

Kwan Ok's research has appeared in leading academic journals such as the American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings, Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Regional Science and Journal of Law and Economics. Her research interests include housing markets, urban policy analysis, household residential choice, add neighborhood dynamics.

Kwan Ok currently sits on the editorial boards of six peer-reviewed journals including the International Journal of Urban Sciences, the Journal of Korea Planning Association, and the Journal of Korea Real Estate Analysis. She is a board member of the Asian Real Estate Society (AsRES) and an AsRES representative to the International Real Estate Society Board. She has also served as an academic expert and commentator for international organizations and government bodies including the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the Office of Policy Development and Research of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of South Korea.

Prior to joining NUS, Kwan Ok received her PhD in Policy, Planning, and Development from the University of Southern California and Master in Urban Planning from Harvard University.

  • Urban Planning and Regional Science
  • Neighborhood Dynamics, Household Residential Choice, Real Estate Markets, and Urban Policy Analysis
  • Research Agenda 1): Interactions between spatial contexts and household behaviors
  • Research Agenda 2): Interrelationships between macroeconomic conditions/policies and housing market dynamics

  • PhD, Policy, Planning, and Development, University of Southern California
  • MUP, Urban Planning, Harvard University
  • BSc, Architecture, Ewha Womans University


Refereed Journal Articles:

  1. "How (Un)affordable Is Housing in Developing Asia?" (with Matthias Helble and Ma. Adelle Gia Arbo), International Journal of Urban Sciences (Forthcoming).
  2. “COVID-19 Impact on City and Region: What’s Next after Lockdown?” (with Myunggu Kang,Yeol Choi, Jeongseob Kim, Sugie Lee, and In Kwon Park), International Journal of Urban Sciences 24(3): 297-315 (2020).
  3. “Housing Inequality in Developing Asia and the United States: Will Common Problems Mean Common Solutions?” (with Matthias Helble and Toshi Aizawa), Cityscape (published by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) 22(2): 23-60 (2020).
  4. “Housing Affordability: A Framing, Synthesis of Research and Policy, and Future Directions” (with George Galster), International Journal of Urban Sciences (Forthcoming).
  5. “Conspicuous Consumption and Household Indebtedness” (with Masaki Mori), Real Estate Economics (Forthcoming).
  6. “Potential Crime Risk and Housing Market Responses” (with Seonghoon Kim), Journal of Urban Economics 108: 1-17 (2018). (Lead Article).
  7. “Property Right Restriction and House Prices” (with Joseph Ooi), Journal of Law & Economics 61(2): 335-360 (2018).
  8. “An International Perspective: Reflection on the Symposium”, Cityscape 20(1): 113-114 (2018).
  9. “Subsidized Housing and Residential Trajectories: An Application of Matched Sequence Analysis” (with George Galster and Richard Smith), Housing Policy Debate 27(6): 843-874. (2017).
  10. “Neighborhood Trajectories of Low-Income U.S Households: An Application of Sequence Analysis” (with George Galster and Richard Smith), Journal of Urban Affairs 39(3): 333-357. (2017).
  11. “Temporal Dynamics of Racial Segregation in the U.S.: An Analysis of Household Residential Mobility”, Journal of Urban Affairs 39(1): 40-67. (2017).
  12. "Do Conspicuous Consumers Pay Higher Housing Premiums?: Spatial and Temporal Variation in the U.S.", (with Masaki Mori), Real Estate Economics 44(2): 726-763. (2016).
  13. “Pre- and Post-Delinquency Behavior: Cross-Neighborhood Variation in New York City”, Journal of Housing and the Built Environment 30(3): 359-382. (2015).
  14. “Why Do Renters Stay in or Leave Certain Neighborhoods? The Role of Neighborhood Characteristics, Housing Tenure Transitions, and Race”, Journal of Regional Science 54(5): 755-787. (2014).
  15. “Housing Tenure Transitions of Older Households: What is the Role of Child Proximity?” (with Gary Painter), Real Estate Economics 42(1): 109-52. (2014).
  16. “What Happens to Household Formation in a Recession?” (with Gary Painter), Journal of Urban Economics 76: 93-109. (2013).
  17. “Housing Tenure Transitions of Older Households: Life Cycle, Demographic, and Familial Factors” (with Gary Painter), Regional Science and Urban Economics 39(6): 749-760. (2009).
  18.  “Mortgage, Risk, and Homeownership among Low- and Moderate-Income Families” (with Raphael Bostic), American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings 98(2): 310-314. (2008).

Book Chapters:

  1. “Homeownership: America’s Dream?” (with Raphael Bostic), in Insufficient Funds: Savings, Assets, Credit, and Banking among Low-Income Households (Rebecca Blank and Michael Barr, editors), Russell Sage Foundation. (2009).

Scholarly Editions:

  1. “The Impact of Housing on Community: A Review of the Literature” (with Alexander von Hoffman and Eric Belsky), JCHS Working Paper W06-1. Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University. (2006).
  2. “From Post-War Fledging Experimentation to Korean-Version New Deal: Where is the End of Mudding Through in Korean Housing Policy?”, International Union for Housing Finance. London, UK. (2005).

Selected Academic Reports:

  1. “Cities and Economic Dynamism: Challenges and Opportunities (Background Study on Affordable and Decent Housing)”, Prepared for the Asian Development Bank. (2019).
  2. “Singapore’s Exporting of Its Urban Planning Strategies: A Case Study of Jurong Town Corporation (JTC)”, Prepared for the Seoul Housing & Communities Corporation. (2017).
  3. “An Analysis of the Success of Singapore Developers”, Prepared for the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements. (2017).
  4. “A Study of Public Private Partnership Models”, Prepared for the City of Seoul. (2014).
  5. “Economic Benefits of Integrated Resorts in Singapore” (with Jae Wan Hur, Kab Sung Kim, and Kyung-Min Kim), Prepared for the Korean Tourism Organization. (2012).
  6. “Pre- and Post-Delinquency Behavior in New York City”, Prepared for Center for the New York City Neighborhoods. (2011).


University Teaching

  1. RE6008 Urban Planning and Development Seminar
  2. RE3901 Advanced Urban Planning
  3. DEP5112 Planning Policy and Process
  4. RE4223 Urban Planning in Asian Cities
  5. RE4220 Urban Planning Seminar
  6. DEP5103A Quantitative Methods for Urban Planning

Other Teaching

  1. SLA Executive Program in Real Estate Foundation and Advanced Courses: Urban Planning in Singapore; International Best Practices in Real Estate
  2. NUS-URA Urban Planning 101 (executive training program for government urban planners): Public Policy; Cost Benefit Analysis
  3. NUS-MFA-CDIA Training Program (executive training program for mayors and chief officers from Asian cities): Project Feasibility, Cost Benefit Analysis, and Public-Private Partnership

  1. The 2021 Joint Real Estate Conference by the Asian Real Estate Society (AsRES), the Global Chinese Real Estate Congress (GCREC) and the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association (AREUEA), Program Committee Chair
  2. Asian Real Estate Society, Board Member, 2019 to present
  3. Korea Real Estate Analysts Association, Board Member, 2019 to present
  4. Journal of International Urban Sciences, Guest Editor, Special Issue on the Global Crisis in Housing Affordability, 2019 to present
  5. Journal of International Urban Sciences, Editorial Board Member, 2018 to present
  6. Journal of Korea Planning Association (ISSN: 1226-7147), Editorial Board Member, 2017 to present
  7. Journal of Korea Real Estate Analysis Association, Editorial Board Member, 2019 to present
  8. Journal of Korea Real Estate Analysis, Editorial Board Member, 2019 to present
  9. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Cityscape International Commentator, 2017 to 2018


Selected Awards

  • Internationalization Faculty Mobility Scheme (Inbound), 2019–2021, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • School Teaching Excellence Award Honour Roll, 2020-, National University of Singapore
  • School Teaching Excellence Award, 2018/2019, National University of Singapore
  • Annual Teaching Excellence Award, 2016/2017, National University of Singapore
  • School Teaching Excellence Award 2016/2017, National University of Singapore
  • School Teaching Excellence Award 2015/2016, National University of Singapore
  • Dissertation Fellowship, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, 2010–2011


Selected Research Grants and Consultancy

  • Singapore Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 1 (S$180,000), 2020–2023
  • Asian Development Bank, 2019
  • Korea Housing Institute, 2018
  • Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements, 2017, 2018
  • Seoul Housing & Communities Corporation, 2017
  • Seoul City Hall, 2014-2015
  • Singapore Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 1 (S$86,950), 2015–2017
  • National University of Singapore Start-up Research Grant (S$105,000), 2012–2014
  • Korea Tourism Organization, 2011-2012
  • Center for New York City Neighborhoods (US$10,000), 2011–2012
  • Real Estate Research Institute Dissertation Research Grant, 2011–2012

  Last Modified: 2020-10-13