How We Live: Community Through Housing | Panel Discussion
Presented in partnership with Historic Boston Incorporated
Panelists: Christine Clements, Angie Liou, Raber Umphenour
Moderated by Donna Brown
Nothing is a hotter topic in Boston than housing: the constantly rising costs of rent and homeownership, the gentrification of certain neighborhoods, the lack of diversity in other neighborhoods, and the need for better living solutions in our tiny footprint of a city. What often gets left out of the conversation is the effect that housing has on a community and vice versa. This panel discussion will explore the idea of creating community through the built environment. With speakers from a variety of backgrounds, How We Live will explore creative housing approaches that have a great impact on the community: cohousing, artist co-ops, affordable housing for recent immigrants. Join us for a discussion that thoughtfully analyzes architecture’s role in fostering connection and vibrancy between city cohabitants.
Donna Brown is Executive Director of South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation, a non-profit developer and manager of affordable housing. SBNDC has created over 200 units of affordable housing in South Boston, including housing for the elderly, families, and Veterans. Donna has more than 25 years of experience in the community development field, serving as a project manager at the City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development and President of the board of SBNDC. In addition to her work at South Boston NDC, Donna has volunteered at a variety of non-profits. She served as the Clerk of the South Boston Community Development Foundation, managing the distribution of $400,000 in grants to South Boston charities. She is Treasurer of the South Boston Association of Non-Profits and a member of the board of Medicine Wheel Productions. Donna is an avid gardener and became a Certified Master Gardener through the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. She and her family have lived in South Boston for over 25 years.
Christine Clements is a licensed architect in Massachusetts with more than 15 years of experience in design and construction. She’s done laboratory design work for university clients including Boston University, Vassar, Tufts, and MIT. She then grew into project management for clients including Harvard Law School; international mega-projects in healthcare and office buildings; state transportation projects; and the industrial sector. Most recently she concentrated on pro bono work, including historic preservation at the Old North Church, policy engagement with elected representatives, and serving as treasurer on a couple of boards. And since 2016 she’s been a member at Bay State Commons Cohousing and co-chair of their Design Committee. BSC is a group of owner/investors developing their own neighborhood, doing all the work that a traditional developer would do: site search and acquisition, architect and contractor selection, hiring legal and other consultants, member recruitment, pursuing permit approvals, securing bank financing for both land purchase and construction contracts.
Angie Liou has worked in the community development and affordable housing field since 2004. Before assuming the position of Executive Director of Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC) in Boston, she served as ACDC’s Director of Real Estate, overseeing the asset management of ACDC’s portfolio of 300+ units, shepherding projects in development, and was responsible for developing a pipeline of new projects. She previously worked as a consultant and project manager in Seattle and Philadelphia assisting nonprofits in creating affordable housing and community spaces. She has served as the project lead on over $150 million worth of projects. Angie received a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in Community Development. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Raber Umphenour is a filmmaker, director, and community leader focused on building cultural districts and developing affordable artist work-live housing. Raber co-founded Midway Artist Collective, a community based non-profit, which secured $20 million in financing to purchase a quarter million sq. ft. work-live building outright after its developer threatened market sale. Secured in only two weeks, this 89 studio building, is now affordable for artists in perpetuity. Midway is a unique rental property, providing emerging artists an affordable place to stay and work in Boston and encouraging artists to make Boston a destination and home, supporting the free flow of ideas between disciplines and generations. He has lectured at Harvard University, Common Field, MakeCity Festival in Berlin. His work has been screened at USITT, UCSD, Wake Forest, BU, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Wellesley College amongst others.