The American Institute of Architects' Los Angeles chapter (AIA|LA) has published an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI) best practices guide that aims to provide a roadmap for how firms of all sizes can begin to transform themselves into more socially just organizations. The guide is published as a PDF here and can also be acquired in hardcopy from AIA|LA staff. The double-sided, tri-fold pamphlet is printed on cardstock to be a handy, easy-to-reference guide durable enough to be kept at one’s desk for long-term use, according to AIA|LA executive director Carlo Caccavale, the major force behind the guide. In terms of its content, the guide is focused on inspiring small but meaningful organizational tweaks that might help usher in an EDI-focused firm culture. To create this resource, Caccavale and AIA|LA executive assistant Kirstin Jensvold-Rumage scoured existing EDI guides published by universities, architecture firms, and other entities in search of a digestible list of incremental policy changes and cultural shifts any architecture firm could undertake. “The whole idea,” Caccavale explained over telephone, “is to make it easy to read.” The guide is divided up into six categories and includes a section that covers how to mitigate unintentional and implicit bias in hiring, for example. The backside of the guide is split up based on approaches that can be taken by firms of various sizes. Some of the measures that can be taken by larger firms include:
- Making an internal commitment to launch a specific role or representative in the firm to address issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- Encouraging 50/50 gender equity by 2020 by promoting gender equity in staff makeup, hiring practices, and project selection.
- Building and embracing alternate workplace models that foster inclusivity like authoring internal anti-discrimination policies and offering flexible hours and telecommuting to reduce employee turnover.
- Sponsoring and participating in programs organized by ethnic or cultural minority groups in the field.
- Participating in EDI trainings hosted by AIA|LA and other approved agencies.
- Ensuring there is diversity and community representation in architectural renderings, imagery, and presentations.
- Advertising the opening of pre-qualification lists for government contracts to small firms (government contracts are often structured to benefit minority- and women-led organizations).
- Infusing the organization’s Presidential Awards policy with EDI values as guidelines for the selection process.
- Organizing college tours of Historic Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) to allow firm leaders and hiring teams to see student talent and understand the legitimacy of HBCU architecture programs.
- Pooja Bhagat, principal, Poojabhagat Architects + Planners
- Raven Hardison, lead designer, Parsons
- Kerenza Harris, director of design technology, Morphosis Architects
- Rachel Jordan, architect, CO Architects
- Elizabeth Mahlow, founding partner, Nous Engineering
- Elaine Molinar, partner and managing director, Snøhetta
- Lisa Pauli, design director, R&A Architecture + Design
- Anne Schopf, design partner, Mahlum Architects
- Maria Smith, executive creative director, M&C Saatchi
- Elizabeth Timme, co-founder, LA-Más
Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter, dean, Woodbury School of Architecture
Deborah Weintraub, chief deputy city engineer, City of Los Angeles