Design Initiatives Manager, Urban Housing Solutions
Kelsey Oesmann is an architect and the Design Initiatives Manager with Urban Housing Solutions, Nashville’s leading nonprofit provider of affordable housing. Kelsey came to Nashville in 2017 as an Enterprise Rose Fellow, and has contributed to the development of more than 500 affordable apartments by integrating creative community engagement, sustainability and resilience efforts, and universal design strategies. She is an advocate for more livable cities, including efforts to advance transit, public health, and environmental justice. During her fellowship, Kelsey was jointly hosted by Urban Housing Solutions and the Nashville Civic Design Center, where she authored the “Affordable Housing 101” report. To further combat harmful stereotypes and misconceptions about affordable housing, Kelsey created The Game of Rent community teaching tool. This board game-style teaching tool leverages local data and the luck of the draw to build awareness and empathy for the issue. In 2018, Kelsey crowdfunded the expansion of the Game of Rent to 26 other custom city editions. She has used the Game in numerous training events and workshops to demonstrate the realities of housing challenges to students, developers, neighbors, and elected officials. Kelsey currently chairs the AIA Middle Tennessee Government Relations Committee and is co-chair of the ULI Housing Action Council. She also serves as the Board Secretary for Poverty and the Arts (POVA), a social enterprise nonprofit working with artists impacted by homelessness. Prior to moving to Nashville, Kelsey designed mixed-use and multifamily projects with an architecture firm in the Washington, DC area. In 2016, she biked from Virginia to Oregon with the nonprofit Bike & Build to raise funds and awareness for affordable housing. A native of New Jersey, Kelsey earned her Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech in 2014 and is a licensed architect in Tennessee. She enjoys cycling and hiking, strong coffee and live music, and never leaves home without a good pen.