Member Voices

In new position statements, AIANY advocates for diversity and inclusion under Trump

East Professional Practice
(Patrick Tomasso / Unsplash)
(Patrick Tomasso / Unsplash)

Taking a progressive stance, New York’s AIA chapter has released a series of position statements that anticipate and respond to game-changing policies of the Trump administration.

Penned in collaboration with four AIANY committees, the position statements offer guiding principals to frame a response to expected changes to the built and natural environment that could come about under President Trump.

In a letter to members, AIANY president David Piscuskas and executive director Benjamin Prosky explain the values and principles they hope will guide AIANY advocacy around issues affecting the profession in housing, transportation, education, and the environment:

The leadership of AIA New York wishes to reaffirm to our membership and extended community our fundamental commitment to providing shelter and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of all people. Civil dialogue, reciprocal respect, and the protection of human rights are essential to our activities and are vital characteristics of the profession. We believe in inalienable rights, regardless of creed or nation of origin, gender or sexual orientation, language or skin color.

These values underpin the practice of our profession. We believe in equity in design and its benefits to all, and we embrace inclusivity and the diversity of both society and our profession. Architecture is a civic art that seeks cultural and societal benefit for people across all demographic constituencies. By extension, we support and are aligned with initiatives that endow and strengthen education and the arts.

We will continue to espouse fair and ethical business practices throughout the building industry. We remain committed to mitigating climate change and protecting New Yorkers from its unavoidable consequences, advocating for evidence-based best practices in energy conservation and resilient and sustainable high-performance building design.

We anticipate that under the new president’s administration, policies may and in certain instances will, challenge the values that underpin practices that our profession seeks to protect…

The chapter’s action follows the AIA National’s leadership’s post-election pledge to work with the new administration, a move that was met with harsh criticism from some members, and a flurry of apologies from leadership to members. Subsequent dialogue about diversity and inclusion within the profession, locally and nationally, is one bright outcome of the exchange: Here in New York, ideas collected via a January community forum event and a new Member Voices account (membervoices@aiany.org) informed each committee’s vision.

AIANY’s 5,500 members received copies of the statements this week and the document will be shared with other leaders in architecture for continued collaboration.

To read the full statements from the chapter’s Housing Committee, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Committee on the Environment, and Education Committee, click here.

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