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Constructing Equitable Housing from the Ground Up
Being part of the CDA program at Peabody provided me with rich, multi-disciplinary learning that fostered my growth both academically and personally.
Hollie Williams
Community Development and Action
M.Ed. '18
Development Associate
The Pinyon Group

“I work for a Los Angeles-based real estate firm that prioritizes social and environmental equity through developing thoughtful, contextual real estate developments. In my role as Development Associate, I lead and manage responses to city and county solicitations for real estate development with a focus on mixed-use, mixed-income developments in Southern California. I also support all phases of development for The Pinyon Group and clients including underwriting, design, financing, construction, and more. During my time at Peabody and my internship with Nelson Strategic Partners in Nashville, I studied and worked with affordable housing. It became increasingly clear just how important community-centered placemaking is when it comes to housing. As I aim to make an impact alongside communities with complicated histories, I find myself coming back to “A Letter to Communities” by Eve Tuck (an article I read while at Peabody) at least once a year to keep me grounded in my purpose. Tuck sums it up by stating, “It is important to ask, when considering a new community research project, ‘What can research really do to improve this situation?’ The answers might reveal that research can do little in a particular situation or quite a lot in another. Or they may reveal that it is not the research that will make the difference but, rather, who participates in the research, who poses the questions, how data are gathered, and who conducts the analysis. This is a call to not take theories of change for granted, but to be sure that our actions make steps toward our purposes.’” Take out research and insert what fits: project, development, event, program, etc.

Being part of the CDA program at Peabody provided me with rich, multi-disciplinary learning that fostered my growth both academically and personally. I had the opportunity and departmental support to conduct research within the department as well as with the education and engineering departments, giving me a nuanced perspective of all the various factors that contribute to the housing crisis in Nashville and beyond. My learnings and experiences at Peabody helped shape my worldview into what it is now and continue to guide me in my career and personal life.