Building Healthier Homes: Live - Affordable Housing Roundtable

Housing experts will discuss how they are prioritizing healthy materials in affordable housing.

How has the approach to material specification in affordable housing changed over the past five years? What are the possibilities for including more bio-based building materials? Can we detail the path to making affordable buildings active contributors to public health?

These questions, and more, will be the topic of lively conversation at Building Healthier Homes: Live - Affordable Housing Roundtable.

In conversation with HML Co-Director Alison Mears and Researcher Sheetza McGarry, affordable housing, real estate, and public design innovators will discuss the realities and aspirations of designing healthier, more compassionate spaces in New York City and across North America.

The event will begin with short presentations from the panelists regarding their work, followed by a roundtable discussion exploring what home, health, and equity look like in our built environment today.

The reception will begin at 5.30pm ET. The event begins at 6:00pm ET.


Charlotte Bell, VP of Housing Services at Habitat for Humanity NYC/WC

Charlotte is the Vice President of Housing Services at Habitat NYC and Westchester, and also a Loan Officer for the Habitat NYC Community Fund. She’s worked in community organizing, affordable housing preservation, and community development in NYC for over a decade. Before Habitat, she was Assistant Director of Co-op Preservation at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB).

Brandon Pietras, Project Architect at Bernheimer Architecture

Brandon Pietras (AIA LFA) graduated from Parsons’ Dual-Degree M.Arch/MFA LD program in 2017 and shortly thereafter joined Bernheimer Architecture. In the years since, Brandon has contributed to the development several projects, most notably as the project architect for a 273-unit affordable-senior housing project in Jamaica, Queens, which is currently under construction.

After participating in US Architects Declare Carbon Working Group, Brandon launched Bernheimer Architecture Decarbonization (BAD) last year with the long-term goal of building a certified zero carbon project. BAD synthesized a framework to help guide this effort, which explicitly prioritizes the specification of healthy materials in addition to its low-embodied carbon objectives. BAD recently began a partnership with Symetri to develop a software solution for WBLCA and schematic embodied carbon evaluation that will be implemented on new Bernheimer Architecture projects.


Ben Rodney, VP of Construction and ESG Leader at Hines, past President of ASHRAE NY

Benjamin Rodney is Vice President of Construction for Hines. Since joining Hines in 2013, he has completed numerous ground-up projects in New York City including 56 Leonard Street, a 60-story Herzog and de Meuron designed condominium project in Tribeca, along with Sunrise at East 56th Street and The Apsley, Hines first two seniors housing projects in New York City. He served on the Local Law 97 multifamily working group and has spoken at numerous national and local conferences on topics surrounding decarbonization and ESG and is a professional engineer in New York State.


Drew Vanderburg, Senior Manager at RiseBoro Community Partnership

Drew Vanderburg is an urbanist working to preserve and protect the Right To Housing for New Yorkers and all citizens of Earth. As Senior Project Manager at RiseBoro Community Partnership, Drew has led the development, design, construction, and leasing of over 900 new affordable homes in NYC, representing over $800M worth of construction and preservation. He acts as the strategic design intermediary between all stakeholders that make an affordable housing project happen. Projects at RiseBoro feature robust community engagement, Passive House design methods, and dedicated supportive services for residents.

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