My real estate development work in Birmingham focuses on revitalizing the urban core and building community there. Park Place, Birmingham’s first Hope VI neighborhood, is comprised of twelve blocks in the heart of downtown. There we have built over 500 units of housing and a K-8 school, designed two parks, developed a YMCA Youth Development Center, and facilitated the creation of an organic urban farm. We are also working to interpret and honor the significant civil rights history that occurred there. Pepper Place, once an abandoned warehouse district, has become a vibrant neighborhood for artists, designers and architects, restaurants and shops, magazine editorial offices, a theater, the Alabama Ballet, and the nationally recognized Pepper Place Farmers Market that brings rural and urban communities together. Influenced by my eye-opening time in Cambridge, I participate in many initiatives for a healthier Birmingham, including farm to city connections, a city wide diet and health program, and urban park planning and development.
When I became a Loeb Fellow, I wanted to bring Alabama to Harvard and bring Harvard to Alabama. I have facilitated this in a variety of ways, including a visit to the GSD for Alabama’s head of tourism, Alabama congressional staff members, and the Deans of Agriculture of our three land-trust universities for charettes and roundtable discussions. The Loeb experience permeates my interests, my work, and my life. I am truly grateful for the opportunity and inspiration that it continues to provide.