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Retrofitting Affordable Homes

Event Rewire
March 6th, 2024
6:00pm - 8:00pm
235 Duffield Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Chris Benedict started her own architecture firm in 1995 and has enjoyed exciting and diverse commissions ever since, creating innovative buildings that have set standards for excellence and energy performance. She is an early pioneer in energy efficiency in apartment buildings and one of the first to adopt Passive House protocols in the US.

Paul Garrin is an interdisciplinary artist and social entrepreneur whose work explores the social impact of technology and issues of media access, free speech, public/private space, and the digital divide. Paul is Creative Technologist and Ecolibrium Program Manager at Loisaida. In 2003, he launched WiFi-NY, an independent, cooperative community wireless broadband network that serves downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. He continues to live and work in the Lower East Side.

Dr. Diana Hernandez conducts research at the intersection of energy, equity, housing and health. A sociologist by training, her work examines the social and environmental determinants of health and has studied the impacts of policy and place-based interventions on the health and well-being of socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. She is a Mayoral Appointee to NYC's Environmental Justice Advisory Board.

Jennifer Leone is the Chief Sustainability Officer at NYC’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development, where she oversees the strategic development and implementation of HPD’s sustainability programs. In addition to her role as an adjunct professor at the New York City College of Technology, she is a licensed architect with a background in architecture, construction management and sustainable development.

Pallavi Mantha is an Associate in Arup's New York Office and leads Arup's East Climate and Sustainability Services. Pallavi is an award-winning leader in climate and sustainability strategy with over 16 years of experience with public and private sector projects. Pallavi operates at the intersection of decarbonization, energy resilience and equity. Her interdisciplinary experience in strategic and operational decarbonization, resilience, master planning, renewable and building energy modeling, and financial analysis enable her to deliver comprehensive, and integrated solutions for clients.

Join us for a roundtable discussion on decarbonizing homes with Chris Benedict, Paul Garrin, Diana Hernandez, Jennifer Leone and Pallavi Mantha.

With the enforcement of Local Law 97 in effect, housing providers are investing in energy retrofits to avoid fines. Nonetheless, the complexity of diverse housing types or intricate funding pathways poses challenges for decarbonizing low-income households in environmental justice communities. To address this against the backdrop of an affordable housing crisis, it’s crucial that we develop easier ways to adapt our homes with innovative design and financing strategies. 

We will discuss ways to shape green homes citywide with Chris Benedict, Paul Garrin, Diana Hernandez, Jennifer Leone and Pallavi Mantha. Following presentations, we will welcome responses from attendees. 

How should we transform existing small, medium and historic buildings to provide livable and affordable housing?

Guest & Accessibility Policies

Urban Design Forum promotes conversations between invited civic leaders, designers, developers, and advocates. This event is open to Forum Fellows and their guests. Fellows can RSVP to rsvp@urbandesignforum.org.

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals to engage fully.

  • The venue will have an entrance and elevators that are ADA-accessible.
  • This event will have microphones and speakers.
  • If you’re not feeling well, please stay home. Face masks are encouraged, particularly if you have been recently exposed to colds, flus, or other illness. If you have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days, a high-quality, well-fitting face covering is required at all times.
  • Please refrain from wearing strong fragrances to accommodate guests with allergies or environmental sensitivities.
  • If you have additional needs, we will do our best to accommodate. Please contact rsvp@urbandesignforum.org.
About Rewire

Our 2024 Next New York initiative, Rewire, explores how we can reshape the existing city to build climate-positive neighborhoods. Through public programs and working groups, Fellows will advance ideas to adapt existing buildings and public spaces to reduce carbon and protect from climate impacts.  

Rewire is made possible with lead support from Stantec and with the continued support of our Board of DirectorsDirector’s Circle, and Company Members, as well as our individual members through membership dues. To learn more about supporting this program, please contact Miranda Bellizia, miranda@urbandesignform.org.

Image Credit: GK tramrunner RU, CC BY-SA

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