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Town Hall Seattle: Science Series

Town Hall’s Science series is dedicated to understanding the world around us. Whether we’re hearing from a legendary physicist or a UW graduate student, the Science series explores math, biology, chemistry, the environment, and so much more.

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Jul 1, 2021

American cities are currently faced with a two-pronged challenge: dealing with our climate crisis, and managing the lack of housing that is affordable and healthy. Our housing is not only unhealthy for the planet, green affordable housing expert Dana Bourland believes, but is also putting the physical and financial health of residents at risk, with full time minimum wage workers unable to afford a two-bedroom apartment in any US county. She argued that we need to move away from a so-called gray housing model to a green model, and she joined us to introduce a primer on what that would look like.

In conversation with Grist’s Clayton Aldern, Bourland endeavored to demonstrate that we do not have to choose between protecting our planet and providing affordable housing to all. Supported by her book Gray to Green Communities: A Call to Action on the Housing and Climate Crisis, she drew from her experience leading the Green Communities Program with a national development organization. With examples from green living communities across the country, she layed out the problems that green housing solves, the challenges in the approach, and recommendations for the future of green affordable housing. Don’t miss this exhilarating discussion that will empower and inspire anyone interested in the future of housing and our planet.

Dana Bourland (she/her/hers) works at the intersection of issues related to health, poverty and the environment. She led the creation of the Environment Program at The JPB Foundation. Formerly, Bourland was Vice President of Green Initiatives for Enterprise Community Partners, where she oversaw all aspects of Enterprise’s award-winning Green Communities program including the creation of the Green Communities Criteria and Enterprise’s Multifamily Retrofit Program. She is featured in and has contributed to numerous publications including the book Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy; Greening Our Built World: Costs, Benefits, and Strategies; Women in Green; Growing Greener Cities; Becoming an Urban Planner, and is included as faculty in Fast Company’s 30-second MBA program.

Clayton Aldern is a data reporter at Grist. A Rhodes scholar and Reynolds Journalism Institute fellow, his writing and data visualization have appeared in The Atlantic, The Economist, The Guardian, Vox, and many other publications. Previously, he led the data analysis and program evaluation team for homelessness programs at Pierce County, Washington. Aldern is also a research affiliate of the University of Washington’s Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, and with Gregg Colburn, he is the author of the forthcoming book Homelessness is a Housing Problem.

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Presented by Town Hall Seattle and Grist