As we approach the end of architecture week 2019 one of the most prescient subjects right now is equity, diversity and inclusion. Not only in the field of architecture but in, in our society as a whole and in issue globally of global concern, equity, diversity, inclusion, something that architects in Michigan are working hard to break down barriers, break down stereotypes, improve the working conditions for all employees and clients and all relationships that are professional in nature in order to create a level workplace, a safe place for all genders, races, ethnicities, all interest groups. that’s just one aspect of diversity and inclusion that is critical in this 21st century. Architects in Michigan have been working hard for the past 20 years or more to improve upon the old stereotypes of eating their young as far as taking new, fresh employees straight, straight out of school, grinding them down until they break or maintain and running them through the gauntlet to see who would make it in this difficult profession of architecture. And it’s now become pretty widely known that that is not very logical methodology to improving the livelihood and sustainability of this profession.
Equity, diversity and inclusion is a subject that the American Institute of Architects and architects in Michigan have been working on for the past five years with a new task force to examine the practice of architecture, the profession as a whole of all firms across the country to understand how equity and diversity is, worked with, dealt with in the workplace, of our architecture firms. And a survey was conducted three or four years ago to establish a baseline for the topic of diversity and inclusion in the workplace to understand where firms stand right now in this modern age, the 21st century, in comparison to other professions such as lawyers, doctors, engineers, and other allied professions, a licensed professionals. And this survey brought forth a great amount of interest and inspired a great conversation at, at the national level for architects. And it’s a very complex subject that has a lot of definition and a lot of meaning that cannot easily be unpacked in a few short sentences.
However, architects in Michigan have been following this research and written survey work to keep up with the, the trend and answer to the call that is coming out from employees in the workplace in equity, diversity and inclusion as a part of architecture week is just a great idea to maintain the conversation and keep that voice and establish a definition going so that architects continue to develop and improve the standards of practice of architecture when it comes to work life balance and how employees are treated. it’s very important that we as architects maintain, at minimum with the current trends of employment. Just for the mere fact, if you were to think about it, high level to maintain a relevance as a profession as a whole, if we were to ignore the trends of practice of other professional services in their workplace and continue with the status quo, architects would quickly lose ground and lose their relevance and importance as a lively and valuable professional service.
Um, there are a few instances that have come out in the media that have highlighted the fact that there are a little bit of problematic, sources of a negativity in the architecture field when it comes to inclusion and diversity. No longer can architects in Michigan ignore this fact and we must do something to broaden our scope, broadened our arms and reach out to grow this profession with all interested individuals no matter what their ethnicity, race, or gender or orientation, but allow this profession to be a leader amongst professional services so that society sees that architects are part of the solution and not continuing to be part of a problem. And right now in this country we have a lot of divisive talk and rhetoric and we need to be way more inclusive and open minded to knowing that a great idea can come from anyone in any place in this world. And we shouldn’t be thinking only about the elite members of society that have traditionally held the professional service practice of architecture as a priority. But architects in Michigan should always be breaking down barriers faster than they’re building walls to new buildings. And we should be exploring the opportunities that diversity and inclusion can bring to the development of all project types. And the voices from any age group in any, identity can be developed and taken to create the great buildings that are healthy, safe, and equitable.
In the twenty first century equity and inclusion is something that everyone, in every field, should be paying attention to. In truth, it should not even be an issue in today’s society across the globe, but it is, and therefore we, as architects in Michigan, are choosing to be a part of the solution and no longer a part of the problem. With the recent enlightenment of the Equity by Design movement in architecture we can now understand that there are measurable statistics of individuals that are missing from the professional working world. We no longer need to wonder where our diversity has gone, but we can now act more proactively to ensure that there will be more thoughtful development of the staffs within our professional architecture firms, from the smallest, to the largest. Architects in Michigan are leading the charge in diversity, equity, and inclusion. There are no corners to hide in. We must take a stand and choose to proactively seek solutions and solve the crisis of the missing 32 percent within our profession. We must stand in solidarity with the committee that developed the equity by design survey and data collection. Not only to shed light on this issue, but arm us with the tangible facts to tackle this problem to eliminate it as a social issue on the profession of architecture.