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There has been much discussion raised about "Why are women leaving Architecture? and more broadly, Why is the profession losing key talent?"  Both women and men practitioners are disillusioned by the myth of work/life balance: Women are grappling with "have it all" expectations of juggling family time with the demands of full-time work.  Men are struggling to support their families solely on an architect's salary and fall back on asking spouses to maintain their jobs. The lack of affordable childcare and high cost of living only magnifies the challenges.  How did we end up in this modern family dilemma? What can we do to improve the situation?

Save the Date 10/29 - Equity by Design: Metrics, Meaning & Matrices

Architecture has a serious problem today in that people who are not alike don’t communicate. I’m actually more interested in communicating with people I disagree with than people I agree with. To have a certain virtuosity of interpretation of every phenomenon is crucial. We’re working in a world where so many different cultures are operating at the same time each with their own value system. If you want to be relevant, you need to be open to an enormous multiplicity of values, interpretations, and readings. The old-fashioned Western ‘this is’ ‘that is’ is no longer tenable. We need to be intellectual and rigorous, but at the same time relativist.
— Rem Koolhaas
 Photos from Equity by Design Symposium 2014 at SF Art Institute

Photos from Equity by Design Symposium 2014 at SF Art Institute

Please save the date for the 4th Symposium of AIA SF "Equity by Design: Metrics, Meaning & Matrices" on October 29, 2016 at the San Francisco Art Institute. The conversation that began in 2011 of the “missing 32%” in regards to the lack of women leaders in architecture has become an international movement with much broader depth and farther reach. Equity by Design is dedicated to achieving equitable practice in architecture in order to retain talent, advance the profession, and engage the public in understanding architecture’s true value proposition in creating accessible and just communities. 

This year’s symposium theme: "Metrics, Meaning & Matrices" builds upon the last five years of advocacy and sets an exciting path for our next chapter.

Equity - Just and fair inclusion. An equitable society is one in which all can participate and prosper. The goals of equity must be to create conditions that allow all to reach their full potential. In short, equity creates a path from hope to change.

Why Equity in Architecture Matters.

Equity is the ethos of our work. It is the ability to recognize difference and provide fair and just access to opportunities. Equity also speaks to a collective ownership, vested interest and knowledge of our worth. Equitable practice promotes the recruitment and retention of the most diverse talent while building stronger, successful, sustainable practices. The equitable representation of professionals allows us to better represent the people we are meant to serve. Equity is for everyone - architects, design collaborators, clients, and our communities.

We must leverage metrics to make any substantial progress towards changing the ratios within our profession. We are committed to conduct research and compare data occurring at regular intervals to track progress and maintain accountability over time. In order to move the needle, we must create benchmarks for comparison and make time to review, discuss, and adjust our course of action based on the findings.  

We seek meaning at many levels in the discovery of significance in one’s career, in the personal connections we make with others, in our own reflection upon research findings that can positively transform the workplace culture. Having meaningful work plays a significant role in improving professional satisfaction, increasing talent retention, and raising awareness of architecture’s true value within our global society.

We can adopt matrices to inspire a new mindset for advocacy and action. By nature, we are makers, observers of patterns, problem solvers, creators of connections, and synthesizers of dissimilar elements. Matrices enable us to become originators of new approaches and constructs. We can create more equitable environments within architectural practice and the places we design.

At the symposium this fall, we will present the early findings of the Equity in Architecture Survey 2016 with a series of panel discussions throughout the day. Interspersed with these sessions we have designed a series of diverse and interactive break-out workshops that encourage participants to engage in a dialogue of what is meaningful in their career experiences. And most importantly, we will experience the power and impact of action by learning and applying matrices as individuals, firms and in our professional networks.

Call for Symposium Thought Leaders - 

We seek Thought Leaders on equitable practice to participate in the Symposium sessions which range from panel discussions of key findings from the Equity in Architecture survey to interactive break-out sessions geared toward action-oriented outcomes. We are looking for dynamic, collaborative, articulate thinkers with a unique perspective on the spectrum of topics involved with achieving equitable practice. We will begin accepting submissions starting May 31, 2016. Please look for the next blog post which will provide the link to the Thought Leader application.