A look at our featured guests for next week's Affordable Housing Symposium

by Joy Resor (MUP '18) and Alexa Russo (MArch '18)

Published April 4, 2018

We’re only one week away from our the UB Affordable Housing Initiative Symposium. The School of Architecture and Planning is convening leading scholars and practitioners across the planning, architecture and real estate development professions to explore current conditions and future trends in housing policy, design and finance, and to consider new models for high-quality, affordable housing. The symposium kicks off a new program at the school to design and build affordable housing prototypes for Buffalo and cities like it across the U.S. 

Here's a quick look at some of our featured guests.

Jolie Milstein

Guiding a conversation on affordable housing public policy, Jolie Milstein is the president and CEO of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH). Prior to her time at NYSAFAH, Ms. Milstein was the in-house developer at Praxis Housing. She has also served as the Executive Director of the Ulster County Development Corporation, the Senior Director for Economic Development at the New York City Partnership, Business Manager for Paperhouse productions, and Commercial and Residential Mortgage Investment Banker at First Boston Corporation. Her experience in business management, finance, and economic development will allow her to deliver a comprehensive perspective on the future of affordable housing.

Larry Curtis

Participating in our panel on real estate finance in affordable housing, Larry Curtis, of Winn Development, has uniquely blended his design background into his practice as a developer. Mr. Curtis’ primary focus has been on the creation of affordable housing and historic rehabilitation developments. In a Boston Globe article, Curtis stated, “Most people enter the development field with a finance or marketing background. Very few enter from a design or construction background. In the early part of my career, I would run away from the fact that I was an architect. In the early and mid-’80s, it was more of a professional liability. You were not looked at as a serious developer or financier; you were too much of a dreamer. But in recent years, design sensibility has become a big focus. I think [my architecture training] differentiates me as a developer because it provides me with the notion that good design pays, that sensible, good design is value creation.

Rusty Smith

Joining our panel on affordable housing design and construction is Rusty Smith, who will be speaking from his experience leading Auburn University's Rural Studio, a unique design/build studio that gives architecture students a hands-on educational experience while assisting the underserved communities of Alabama’s rural Black Belt delta. The students work in partnership with their neighbors in the local community to define solutions, fundraise, design and ultimately build remarkable projects. Over the past decade Rural Studio has expanded the scope and complexity of its projects to include the design and construction of community-oriented infrastructure, the development of more broadly attainable small home affordability solutions, and a comprehensive approach to addressing insecurity issues relative to income, energy, food, health, and education resources. Altogether the Studio continually questions what should be built, rather than simply what can be built.