Getting to Know the ILFI Board

We sat down recently with board member Julie Hiromoto to ask her thoughts on ILFI’s direction, the building industry, and how her passion for dancing shaped her work on regenerative design.

Given what you know about us, what is the most important thing the Institute does for the community?

The International Living Future Institute inspires meaningful and transformative change and then convenes a community of experts, advocates and champions to GET IT DONE. We break barriers around the world, pushing boundaries of municipal codes and regulations, challenging the status quo and implementing truly regenerative buildings – for the ecosystems in which we live, for our souls, and for flourishing communities.

Where do you think our organization should make connections that would help strengthen our mission delivery?

We need more clients, owners and investors who understand the value of a regenerative future. Once we connect with these stakeholders, ILFI can also help decision makers understand that developing a Living Building does not have to be led by a team that has already done it. Most certified LBC projects were delivered by teams who were figuring it out for the first time. We need to grow this movement and there are many qualified teams who can help.

What do you think is one of the most exciting things happening in the regenerative building movement?

We are at the precipice of scaling this movement. If you look at the number and scale of projects being registered today, it is really exciting. For example, in 2012 the Institute registered 19 projects encompassing approximately one million square feet. In 2022, those numbers have grown to 105 projects registered, representing 10 million square feet of development – a 10x increase a decade later. 

Given the urgency of climate change, health and social justice, how can we increase the pace, scale and impact of the regenerative building movement? 

We need to broaden the tent to grow the community and provide access to training, resources, and best practices. Several colleagues in my organization have completed the LFA process. They are hungry to soak up more knowledge and experiences. Most importantly, they are eager for an opportunity to apply them on a real project!

What’s one thing about yourself that would surprise people?

I’ve been a dancer since age 3. During high school, I briefly considered becoming a professional dancer, until I dislocated my knee cap the first weekend of a summer intensive at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. As I spent the rest of the summer recovering in PT, I understood how fragile and ephemeral our bodies are. I decided a career working with buildings and our built environment would have a lasting impact. It’s a joy to have the opportunity to beautifully design equity, well-being and resilience into people’s everyday lives. 

Written By

Brad Kahn

Brad Kahn is the president of Groundwork Strategies, a communications consultancy focused on climate, forests and cities.