Fall 2018, Amelia Taylor-Hochberg, G, Consensus Building Institute
Hello all! My name is Amelia Taylor-Hochberg, and I’m a second-year master of city planning student at MIT. I became interested in urban planning through my work pre-MIT as a journalist, doing freelance writing about art, urbanism and architecture, and managing an online architecture publication in Los Angeles. With a background primarily in writing (my undergraduate degree is in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley), I applied to work at the Consensus Building Institute in the fall of my first year, because they needed someone to help develop the public-facing materials related to their work with managed retreat. Managed retreat is the process by which the government can relocate people in areas predictably and repeatedly damaged by natural disasters, by buying out their homes and (sometimes) helping them find new ones. While I now work at CBI through federal workstudy, my time there began as a for-credit internship through my department, called “Planning in Practice”. The position appealed to me because I was able to use my skills as a journalist to learn about a subject that I was fascinated by academically but very unfamiliar with, and help communicate that knowledge to a public audience.
As the internship began last fall and will continue at least until December, I am already quite comfortable in the role. Currently, I’m helping the team coordinate an award for organizations involved in community organizing for retreat-related issues. Everyone I’ve met there has been very supportive and easy to work with, and have been very flexible with helping me work around my student schedule. As the semester ramps up and I begin focusing on thesis research, I look forward to having another set of ears to discuss ideas with — right now, I’m focusing my topic on how our predominant understandings of human behavior understanding influence policymaking related to climate change.