Establishing diversity, inclusivity, and equity programs at U.S. architecture firms is essential, and Perkins&Will and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) break down the process in a white paper called Creating a Culture of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Your Architectural Practice.
“Our industry and society are facing an unprecedented convergence of crises,” explains Perkins&Will global diversity director Gabrielle Bullock, who wrote the report with principal Bill Schmalz. “Economic, health, environmental, social, and racial justice challenges have presented us not just with an opportunity, but also a responsibility, to address them. We can elevate the industry by challenging the status quo and reimagining the future by looking through the J.E.D.I. (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) lens.”
The paper lays out a framework for honoring J.E.D.I. principles in order to “remain relevant to clients, attractive to talent, and competitive in an increasingly diverse world.” These are all topics, points out Schmalz, that “the profession is long overdue in addressing.”
Guided by demographic, business, and human imperatives, the seven featured steps include formulating a vision and setting identifiable goals, designating a person to lead the mission, and creating a strategic plan that focuses on the firm, the profession at large, and the pathway to the profession. Establishing a devoted J.E.D.I. organization that reflects the size and complexity of the firm, not just one person, is also important, as are developing the right tools like recruitment and retention programs, measuring the progress of all activities and taking stock of demographic data, and realizing that there is no final element to the plan, because allyship is an ongoing commitment.
“Human society is complex, multicolored, and multicultural,” says Bullock. “Architecture firms must reflect this truism, authentically, in everything they do. Not only does their future success depend on it; the future health and wellbeing of entire generations depend on it, too.”
A version of this article was originally published by Hospitality Design.