Klara's Urban Habitat Initiatives Reflections
Klara Kaufman reflects on her time at Urban Habitat Initiatives
By KLARA KAUFMAN
After two and a half years, saying goodbye is hard! When I started working at Urban Habitat Initiatives in January of 2020, I had no idea what was in store. I was six months out of college, and I’d never designed a website or produced a podcast before. I was excited to learn more about community development, and the amazing work being done by green leaders. I’d met Kim Vermeer at an MIT lecture about the relationship between architecture and photography, and when she told me about her new book, Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing, and the podcast she wanted to start, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
Despite the pandemic beginning three months after we’d begun working together, we were undeterred, and hit the ground running. Kim tasked me with revisioning her website, where I write to you from today. After a lot of research, I had to learn by doing – which became my motto at UHI.
We launched Blueprint into the world and set off on a virtual book tour from Boston to California and beyond. I wrote copy, designed graphics, and created presentations for over 23 events and conferences. Together, Kim and I produced a video for the MIT Center for Real Estate/Harvard Continuing Education Course, Developing Health-Centered Communities, focusing on Roxbury, Bartlett Station, and community health initiatives.
Getting Green in Action into action: starting from the ground up, Kim and I dove into the podcast. We assembled a podcast advisory group for guidance, researched stories, and took a virtual class from the PRX podcast garage, “Writing for Audio” with Galen Beebe. And, most importantly, we were joined by the wonderful Carl-Isaak Krulewitch, who does our sound engineering and audio editing. Our placeholder name “Totally Awesome Podcast” gradually became Green in Action, and we launched the first season of the show in July 2021. I’ve loved working on Green in Action; crafting stories about green organizations, writing interview questions, choosing tape, drafting scripts, and beyond.
I think of myself as a storyteller, an urbanist, and a designer, and I feel very grateful that my experience at UHI gave me the opportunity to grow in all three areas. Working with Kim and Carl-Isaak has been a special experience that I will carry with me in my next adventures. It’s rare to be able to try out so many different things and meet so many interesting people along the way. I can’t wait to see where Urban Habitat Initiatives is headed next!