On September 16, 2020, Associate Principal Rachel Ehrlich AIA, LEED AP discussed equity in community engagement with AIA New Jersey. She was joined on the panel by Simone Tsigounis AIA, Susan Pikaart Bristol AIA, and Stacey Ruhle Kliesch AIA.
Based on principles from the AIA Guides to Equitable Practice, the panelists identified areas of the profession that are lacking equity and provided tools and lessons that attendees can apply to increase equity in their own personal and professional communities.
Themes that were covered during the panel included strategies in achieving greater equity in community engagement, increasing the profession’s value to society as well as its visibility among potential partners and future practitioners. The panelists covered fundamental principles and attributes of community engagement and specific methods for working with community members in equitable, inclusive, and just design practices, decision making, and outcomes.
“When architects engage with local government, whether through elected office or appointment to boards and commissions, we demonstrate expertise and show our engagement with local issues that are important to our communities.
We can advocate and plan for affordable housing for all residents. We can make the case for calmer, safer streets that are walkable, bikeable, and equitable. We can champion regional planning partnerships to reduce congestion and guide smart development in our towns and counties. We can focus on infrastructure investment to build resiliency and transportation equity.
Architects are natural leaders and consensus-builders! Volunteer in your community to help lead the way.” – Rachel Ehrlich AIA, LEED AP