Virtual Book Tour Tackles Hot Button Issues

Virtual Book Tour Tackles Hot Button Issues

From affordable housing trends in Atlanta to big-picture perspectives on green housing during a pandemic

Klara Kaufman


Book tours are looking a little different this year! One silver lining of limitations on in-person events is that communities with diverse perspectives can gather virtually to consider commonly shared issues.

Urban Habitat Initiatives President Kim Vermeer is taking advantage of this phenomenon, making a two-stop virtual book tour this fall to promote Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing, Revised Edition, with co-author Walker Wells. While Kim is based in Boston and Walker is in San Diego, the events will be hosted by organizations in Georgia and Michigan.

Senior Residences at Decatur East, Decatur, Georgia

A Columbia Residential Project featured in “Blueprint”

The first stop is a book club talk hosted by the USGBC Georgia Emerging Professionals’ group, on September 22nd. The conversation will focus on sustainability within the context of local affordable housing developments in the Atlanta area. Kim and Walker will discuss how concepts of integrated design and green operations in Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing are demonstrated by case study projects – 3Keys and Tapestry Development Group’s Phoenix House, and Columbia Residential’s Senior Housing at Decatur East. Abe Kruger of SK Collaborative, who worked on both projects, will moderate a Q&A with developers Jon Toppen (Tapestry Development) and Christina Davis (Columbia Residential).

USGBC Georgia Book Club

11:00 AM -- 12:30 PM EDT
September 22nd

Senior Residences at Decatur East is a mixed-use development that provides multifamily housing for seniors, with an emphasis on community amenities through communal spaces and transit connectivity. Phoenix House pairs historic preservation with new construction on their mixed-use campus of housing, recreation, community space, and office space in a gentrifying neighborhood. Both projects took different approaches to integrative design practices and green operations, while striving to provide healthy and affordable multi-family housing for their residents.

Though they serve different populations and use different strategies, both developments used Earthcraft, a regional green building program, to certify their transit-oriented infill projects. Conversations with key players in the Atlanta green building scene highlight Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing’s message that sustainable design is a multifaceted aspect of building more equitable homes for residents. 

Phoenix House, Atlanta, Georgia

A 3Keys and Tapestry Development Group Project featured in “Blueprint”

The next stop on the tour, hosted by Grand Rapids, Michigan-based organization GreenHome Institute, is on October 28th, from noon to 1:00 PM. Kim and Walker will present on green affordable housing and Covid-19 at this interactive webinar presented by Program Manager Brett Little.

Kim and Walker will explore how Covid-19 is accelerating pre-existing historical inequities in health and housing, and how green building strategies are integral to addressing this problem. Taking a step back to look beyond housing providers’ initial emergency response, this lecture delves into how integrated long-term thinking can promote social equity. The discussion will illustrate how the design of public and private space indoors and outdoors can be re-thought to empower residents in the Covid-19 context and beyond.

This lunchtime event is a great chance to learn about how green operations and building strategies better positions affordable housing developments to confront Covid-19.

COVID-19 and Affordable Housing Webinar

12:00 -- 1:00 PM Tuesday, October 28

The USGBC Georgia Book Club in September and the GreenHome Institute Webinar in October show how Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing, Revised Edition, provides a useful framework for higher level thinking on climate resilience as well as a practical guide for innovative projects on a local scale. Whether you are interested in the intricacies of affordable housing trends in Atlanta, or a big-picture perspective on green housing during a pandemic, these upcoming events provide an opportunity for dispersed communities to come together.

Learn more about the book, published by Island Press in July 2020.

Header image depicts Phoenix House, in Atlanta, Georgia

A 3Keys and Tapestry Development Group Project featured in “Blueprint”