Meet Nicholas Forest: Enterprise Rose Fellow Serving in Atlanta at Quest Community Development Organization
Thanks to the generosity of The Kendeda Fund, Nicholas Forest will serve as an Enterprise Rose Fellow with Quest Community Development for the next three years. He will assist Quest's property development team in their efforts to stabilize Atlanta's westside communities by developing 100 new affordable housing units and retail/office spaces along Joseph E. Lowery Blvd.
The Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship partners emerging architectural designers with local community development organizations, where they facilitate an inclusive approach to development to create green, sustainable, and affordable communities. As an integral staff member of the organization, Nick will focus on advancing the organization’s practices in community engagement, sustainability and design excellence.
Q&A with Nicholas Forest
How did you first get involved in the Rose Fellow program?
I first heard about the Rose Fellowship program last June from some of my colleagues in NOMA. They knew that I was interested in community-based work and thought that I would be a good candidate for the program. Later that month, I met Chris Scott, the previous program director of the fellowship, at a NOMA networking event, and he encouraged me to apply.
What made you want to do your Fellowship with Quest?
When the fellowship was announced, I was already living in Atlanta and doing community-based work in a few of the neighborhoods. Atlanta was becoming home to me. I was too invested in this city and its communities to leave. When I find out that Quest was in Atlanta, I knew that it was the place for me. Besides being located in Atlanta, Quest was and is serving the people and communities that I also wanted to serve.
What's the best thing to happen since you started your Rose Fellowship?
Meeting the other Rose Fellows and being welcomed into the Fellowship family. The support has been tremendous!
If you could change one thing about affordable housing, what would it be?
The lack of funding and policies that could provide more money to build affordable homes, better quality homes with more aesthetically-pleasing designs.
What do you wish other people knew about Quest Community Development?
I wish people knew that their core values center around providing supportive services for their residents. I think people, myself included, need to understand that affordable housing isn't just for people without the monetary means to live in market-rate developments. It's also for individuals that lack the physical and mental capabilities to do so.
What's your personal philosophy on what should be done about affordable housing?
For us to address affordable housing, we must look at it in the context of the other elements that help create equitable communities. Schools, healthy food options, equitable transportation, jobs and affordable housing are all core and connected elements that affect one another. We have to stop trying to solve affordable housing in its own silo. We have to start addressing all of the elements concurrently.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about applying to be a Rose Fellow?
If you're truly interested in serving people and their communities, then the Rose Fellowship is terrific opportunity. The program is focused on work that isn't about you, but about the people you serve.
What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?
I wanted to be a fashion designer and a cartoonist when I was a kid.
Learn more about the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship.