Launched Language Equity Plan to give communities a voice in development
Karin Brandt, a city planner by trade, is the CEO and founder of coUrbanize. Her founding story was inspired by a desire to impact community change. She understood that changing how developers work and what they decide to build can help fundamentally change a community’s built environment. Since the company’s founding, coUrbanize has been used for more than 450 projects across the country.
In addition to lowering the barrier to participate in the development process by bringing engagement online, coUrbanize has taken steps to elevate underrepresented voices and bridge the digital divide. Community members can share feedback with the project teams via SMS text messaging, as well as share feedback via voicemails that are automatically transcribed onto the platform. The platform and SMS text messaging signs can be translated into whatever languages are needed in a given community.
Along those lines, Brandt and her team launched a Language Equity Plan (LEP) to ensure that people whose primary language is not English can have a say in what gets built in their neighborhoods. The Language Equity Plan requires translation for all projects on the coUrbanize platform that meet specific criteria: If at least 5% of residents in the area where the project is located speak the same non-English language at home, all communications on the platform and all related materials (like text messaging signs, door hangers and mailers) will be translated into that language.
Elevating other women in CRE is also one of Brandt’s top priorities. In 2019, she launched a Women in Development event series for female development professionals in the Boston area to celebrate their successes, build their networks and share their challenges in a comfortable setting.
These are just a few of the reasons we chose Karin Brandt as one of the Boston & New England 2022 Women in Real Estate Award winners. Connect CRE’s Women in Real Estate Awards honor the achievements and inspirational stories of women who have reached respected positions of leadership and play key mentorship roles for others.
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