Fall 2021 Highlights
Urban Habitat Initiatives President Kimberly Vermeer reflects on the events of autumn 2021
By KIM VERMEER
The last several months have been busy! I’ve had the chance to participate in many conferences and events.
Things kicked off with the Greenbuild Resilience Summit in August, a virtual event. I organized and led a panel “Affordable Housing: Leading in Climate, Resilience and Equity”. Mary Jane Jagodzinski (Community HousingWorks (San Diego)), Tara Barauskas (Community Corporation of Santa Monica), Clark Stephens (South Florida Community Land Trust) shared how their organizations are grounding their work in equity and building green, resilient, and affordable housing.
Then, on to San Diego for Greenbuild 2021! It was wonderful to reconnect with people in person, including my co-author Walker Wells, who I hadn’t seen in person for two years! Walker and I had a chance to share our book at a Greenbuild Book Event. Of course, we’ve done an amazing “Zoom book tour” since Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing was published last year, but this was our first ever in-person event. We had a great time! Thanks much to the Greenbuild planning team for inviting us to do that event. I also presented a case study of Coppersmith Village at a session “Celebrating Leadership: The People and Projects Advancing Health and Wellness, Sustainability, Resilience and Equity Through Green Building”, sharing the stage once again with Mary Jane Jagodzinski and featuring Glen Folland (Director of Sustainability at VCA Green). The panel was organized and moderated by Jennifer Owens and Micah Silvey from GBCI. Greenbuild wasn’t all work! It was fun to meet up with people for coffee and lunch, and to enjoy the reception on the patio overlooking the San Diego harbor and picnic at the ballpark. I hope that 2022 brings more live, in-person events back into our schedules!
Kim and Walker at Greenbuild in San Diego
Back in Boston, and to virtual events. EcoDistricts hosted Walker Wells and me for its Webinar Wednesdays Series in September, where we discussed Trends and Innovations in Green Affordable Housing. In October we were featured speakers at the USGBC Western Region Multifamily Housing Summit, again reflecting on how the experiences of the pandemic and calls for racial equity during the past two years are influencing design and development of affordable housing, and reinforcing the imperative to build green for sustainability, for resilience, for equity.
2021 closes out with one more scheduled event in December, hosted by the USGBC Mid-Atlantic Northeast (MANE) region: a panel discussion on the LEED Residential Presence in the MANE region. Ben Cohen (ReVireo) will moderate, and I’ll join fellow panelists Maureen McGeary Mahle (Steven Winter Associates) and Kevin O’Connor (RUPCO) to share how LEED certification is advancing sustainability, resilience, and equity in residential development. Sign up here!