Meet our newbie!

Claire ‘Kelai’ Diebel,

She earned her interior architecture bachelor’s degree at Columbia College Chicago, studied abroad at the Dublin Institute of Technology, and completed her architecture master’s degree at Tongji University in Shanghai. Now, her passion for green infrastructure design drew her towards a work experience with Rooflife & Growndowntown.

Kelai’s undergraduate studies were focused on adaptive reuse. It wasn’t until she moved to China in 2012, and was met by environmental issues, that her design focus pivoted towards green infrastructure. Her master’s thesis work was centered on the question: what factors influence successful green roof development in Shanghai? She found the answer in policy framework, and so her next move was to Germany, aka the green roof policy pioneer. There she was awarded the 2016/2017 German Chancellor Fellowship to carryout a one-year-long research project about green infrastructure and urban agriculture.

Since 2016, Kelai has been working on her research project, UPFARMING, to investigate building integrated agriculture design, policy, construction, maintenance, and economics. This topic has brought her even further out of Germany, to the Netherlands, to join Rooflife & Growndowntown for a 1-month collaboration.

Her #1 priorty: greening cities with valuable green infrastructure