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The Equitable Housing & Livability Institute (EHLI) works to make better housing in Utah attainable for all.

 

EHLI

/ˈeːliː/

The Equitable Housing & Livability Institute puts research into practice — bringing down the cost of construction for multifamily housing, improving the quality of life for residents, and powering buildings with renewable energy to ensure clean air and water resources for future generations. 

 

ABOUT EHLI

EHLI is a collective of designers, real–estate developers, social scientists, sustainability experts, and socially-conscious activists working to fundamentally reconsider how affordable housing is designed and built. EHLI collaborates with experts and community stakeholders across policy, government, design, construction, manufacturing, finance, and operations to connect resources across disciplines. Our team focuses on creating replicable tools and innovative methods in the affordable housing market that are shared openly with the building industry in Utah. EHLI exists to accelerate:

1. RESPONSIBLE HOUSING

EHLI leverages collaborative practices and integrated design principles to provide housing that mitigates the negative impacts of construction and operations on air, water, and other environmental resources. ELHI works to make it cost-effective and commonplace to power buildings with clean, renewable energy.

2. BETTER HOUSING

For EHLI, housing is not an abstract concept; it’s the place where people make their home and the place where community is built. The thoughtfulness that goes into the design and construction of residential buildings directly affects residents’ quality of life and the health of their communities. EHLI identifies opportunities for design and construction improvements at the unit, building, and community scales through both qualitative and quantitative research, application, testing, and verification. Our goal is for Utah to advance the conversation about building better housing for all locally and lead the conversation nationally.

3. MORE HOUSING

According to the National Low Income Housing Authority, Utah has 47,180 fewer homes for low-income families than it needs. In addition, nearly half of renters in Utah spend more than 30% of their income on housing and are considered cost-burdened as a result. The biggest barrier to more housing is the limited number of federal tax credits that currently bridge the gap between costs and financing. EHLI works to  drive down the hard  costs of housing to reduce reliance on subsidies. EHLI’s multifaceted team is actively exploring all avenues to achieve this goal, including reviewing financing mechanisms, construction methods, and design-build processes.

  ANDREW BALSTER    Executive Director   Andrew Balster, has spent his career leading teams operating in the fields of architecture, urbanism, public policy, sociology, and academia. Working closely with influential leaders in the public and private sectors, ranging from architects and planners to government officials and social activists, he creates research platforms with universities to explore many forms of cultural production. Andrew has worked on projects that are broad in typology and scale—ranging from small civic centers to super-tall towers to entire urban districts. Andrew was a Senior Designer at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) in Chicago on several award-winning projects located all over the globe. He received an MScAAD and an MArch with distinction from the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. Andrew served at Archeworks as Executive Director, and Director of Operations for Impact Design Hub, before joining EHLI.

ANDREW BALSTER

Executive Director

Andrew Balster, has spent his career leading teams operating in the fields of architecture, urbanism, public policy, sociology, and academia. Working closely with influential leaders in the public and private sectors, ranging from architects and planners to government officials and social activists, he creates research platforms with universities to explore many forms of cultural production. Andrew has worked on projects that are broad in typology and scale—ranging from small civic centers to super-tall towers to entire urban districts. Andrew was a Senior Designer at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) in Chicago on several award-winning projects located all over the globe. He received an MScAAD and an MArch with distinction from the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. Andrew served at Archeworks as Executive Director, and Director of Operations for Impact Design Hub, before joining EHLI.

  ERIN CARRAHER    Director, Strategy & Partnerships   Erin Carraher is an architect and educator at the University of Utah School of Architecture, where she aligns her teaching, research, and service work in applied projects that address complex issues related to gender and social equity, creative place-making, and sustainable practices. Her work has received top honors at the university, state, and national levels, including the University of Utah’s 2018–19 Public Service Professorship, a university position meant to further strengthen community-engaged learning experiences tied to civic engagement through partnerships with local communities. Erin earned a B.Arch with honors from Virginia Tech and an M.Arch from Yale University, where she was awarded the Gene Lewis Prize for Excellence in Residential Design. Her research on collaboration and leadership in emerging and integrated modes of education and practice recently resulted in the co-authored the book, Leading Collaborative Architectural Practice (Wiley 2017).

ERIN CARRAHER

Director, Strategy & Partnerships

Erin Carraher is an architect and educator at the University of Utah School of Architecture, where she aligns her teaching, research, and service work in applied projects that address complex issues related to gender and social equity, creative place-making, and sustainable practices. Her work has received top honors at the university, state, and national levels, including the University of Utah’s 2018–19 Public Service Professorship, a university position meant to further strengthen community-engaged learning experiences tied to civic engagement through partnerships with local communities. Erin earned a B.Arch with honors from Virginia Tech and an M.Arch from Yale University, where she was awarded the Gene Lewis Prize for Excellence in Residential Design. Her research on collaboration and leadership in emerging and integrated modes of education and practice recently resulted in the co-authored the book, Leading Collaborative Architectural Practice (Wiley 2017).

  JENNIFER PRESTON    Director, Integrated Design   Jennifer Preston leads the collaboration of creative thinkers through concept design, topic generation, engagement activity development, and equitable facilitation, all resulting in action. She works with EHLI from her position as Design Architect at The Laurentia Project, where she develops Laurentia’s research and community engagement projects. She is also Partner at SHELTER Stories, a sustainable architectural design practice.  Previously Jennifer was Senior Associate and Sustainable Design Director at BKSK Architects in New York City, where she fostered multiple award-winning projects, garnering BKSK a coveted spot on the Architect 50 list of top sustainability firms. Jennifer served on the Steering Committee for the AIANY Committee on the Environment (COTE), and she also co-founded the NYC+NJ Living Future Collaborative..

JENNIFER PRESTON

Director, Integrated Design

Jennifer Preston leads the collaboration of creative thinkers through concept design, topic generation, engagement activity development, and equitable facilitation, all resulting in action. She works with EHLI from her position as Design Architect at The Laurentia Project, where she develops Laurentia’s research and community engagement projects. She is also Partner at SHELTER Stories, a sustainable architectural design practice.  Previously Jennifer was Senior Associate and Sustainable Design Director at BKSK Architects in New York City, where she fostered multiple award-winning projects, garnering BKSK a coveted spot on the Architect 50 list of top sustainability firms. Jennifer served on the Steering Committee for the AIANY Committee on the Environment (COTE), and she also co-founded the NYC+NJ Living Future Collaborative..

  TRISTAN ROBERTS    Director, Research & Development   Tristan Roberts works with manufacturers, organizations, and community stakeholders to dislodge inertia and unlock innovation. Tristan’s work with EHLI builds on his practice at  The Laurentia Project, where as Facilitator his day-to-day focus is supporting professionals in realizing the highest potential for their projects. Formerly the executive editor and longtime voice of the trusted BuildingGreen.com and LEEDuser.com websites, Tristan’s problem-solving skills have been critical to project teams navigating green building programs like LEED, WELL, and the Living Building Challenge. Designers choosing high-performing building materials while avoiding hidden downsides and greenwash often consult his reporting, trainings, and even-handed guidance. Tristan operates a small farm and retreat center in Vermont where the focus is on slow, contemplative experience of place

TRISTAN ROBERTS

Director, Research & Development

Tristan Roberts works with manufacturers, organizations, and community stakeholders to dislodge inertia and unlock innovation. Tristan’s work with EHLI builds on his practice at  The Laurentia Project, where as Facilitator his day-to-day focus is supporting professionals in realizing the highest potential for their projects. Formerly the executive editor and longtime voice of the trusted BuildingGreen.com and LEEDuser.com websites, Tristan’s problem-solving skills have been critical to project teams navigating green building programs like LEED, WELL, and the Living Building Challenge. Designers choosing high-performing building materials while avoiding hidden downsides and greenwash often consult his reporting, trainings, and even-handed guidance. Tristan operates a small farm and retreat center in Vermont where the focus is on slow, contemplative experience of place

THE EQUITABLE HOUSING & LIVABILITY INSTITUTE

50 North 600 West Unit D, Salt Lake City, UT 84116

hello@livableutah.org