Opportunities for Equity in Design
One hundred years later, the life of the colored American is still sadly crippled by the manacle of segregation and the chains of discrimination."
Even though things have changed since Dr. King gave this speech, we still have a long way to go to create a unified, equal society. Dr. King’s vision for the “beloved community“ is one compelling path.
As architects, we are civic stewards of the health, safety, and welfare of the public within our built environment. When we design and build equitable spaces for all, for our communities, we can minimize the systematic racism that exists in our nation. It is our American creed for every one of us to strive for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Projects like Freedom West in San Francisco, California are providing historically minimized communities with avenues for continued homeownership and generational wealth building. Our concept plan honors the history of the housing cooperative’s triumphs and hardships as one of the country’s first equity-oriented developments of this scale for the African American community.
Learn more about our design work with the Freedom West community.
Equity in Education Design
We’re also protecting the legacies of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) with pro bono grant writing support. Five institutions have been awarded $270,000 of grants through the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Cultural Heritage Stewardship Initiative. These grants fund preservation planning developed in collaboration with the campus community including students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders.
In Austin, Texas, the recent passing of an historic $2.4 billion bond is proof that our communities are ready for an evolved, equity-based approach to long-range educational planning. Expanding the traditional lens of facility conditions, our approach layers GIS data to reveal which schools are also experiencing high concentrations of historically underserved students and high neighborhood vulnerability, to focus recommendations on the highest potential impact.
Celebrating the Community with Art
Minimizing systematic racism and fostering the beloved community can also be about celebration. Our design for the Arte Noir space in Seattle restores the Black creative community with a place that celebrates the gift of art. Collaborating with a Black-led client team of community leaders, the space was designed for artists to display their work and gather with neighbors and creators in a place intentionally built for them.
Now more than ever, designers must take advantage of our privilege by advocating for access to education, fair housing, public policies, and empowerment. We must always find the courage to speak out and take action against human indignities wherever we see them in our communities. I implore and advocate that we all take time to reflect on the sacrifices so many have made and vow to create a better future for all of us through our work and our service to our communities.
Coincidently, The King Center’s focus for this year’s Martin Luther King Day celebration is the beloved community.
If you’re interested in giving back, here are some great ideas for the MLK Day of Service.
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2023 ITGA Conference: Building Resilient Communities
Join Krista Trofka and Woody Giles as they speak on the role space plays in higher education environments for student wellbeing.
2023 ITGA Conference: Building Resilient Communities
Join Jackie Eckhardt to hear how she’s “Weaving Town/Gown Planning with Indigenous Culture” at the ITDA Conference.
DLR Group to Speak at NY Healthcare Real Estate Conference
Senior Principal and Global Healthcare Leader Phil LiBassi, FAIA, FACHA, will present on ambulatory care and inpatient upgrades.
Designing for Equity: A Guide to GIS Principles
Interested in design for equity? Learn five principles that unlock GIS’ potential, and questions to ask your designer or planner.
Debate: Designer vs Developer
Join Henrique Dias at the 13th Real Estate Development for a panel exploring the unique perspectives designers and developers bring to a project.
Repurposing Existing Buildings for New Uses
Join Henrique Dias at INDEX's Design Talk panel on the considerations involved in giving new life to old buildings to meet the needs of modern users.
The Renwick Revisited
Across from the White House, DLR Group x Accidentally Wes Anderson explores the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, sharing the story and design updates of, “the American Louvre.”
Protecting the Symbol of the City: Preserving Portlandia
A well known symbol of Portland, the Portlandia sculpture required special considerations during our reconstruction of the Portland Building.
Outdoor Learning: Enhancing Student and Educator Well-Being
Student and staff well-being is deeply rooted in how we design learning environments. As educators seek to engage students in new ways, learning outdoors provides many benefits and opportunities for powerful learning experiences.
A’23 Conference Tour: Chinatown Station - Connecting Communities
This project tour will reveal how a subway design project connected underserved communities in one of the nation’s densest cities.