Equity in Architecture

December 20, 2017

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AIA NJ is looking to explore ways to better encourage equity in New Jersey’s architecture profession.

This grows out of a resolution from the AIA National Convention in 2015, and a conversation that started long before that.



The value proposition

Equitable practice has the potential to foster success on multiple levels—equity in the
workplace, plus socially just access to basic resources, healthier communities and resilient public space in our urban centers. The value proposition of equity at all these levels is rooted in empathy, transparency, education, collaboration, and trust.
The lack of equity in architectural practice and allied professions has made architects
prone to lose talent to other more lucrative career paths. The factors that challenge
retention include long hours, modest pay, work that is misaligned with professional goals, and lack of transparency in promotion and compensation practices.
In order to achieve equity in the built environment, the architecture workforce needs to reflect the rapidly changing demographics of those people we are charged to serve.
Architecture is also susceptible to some public misunderstanding of the value or potential of what architects can bring to the table.
In terms of social impact, design has the power to inform more equitable, resilient,
sustainable, and relevant built environments for the increasingly multicultural population of our nation.

Rosa Sheng, AIA
Author, AIA Resolution 15-1, May 2015


In January 2017, the AIA published a report entitled  EQUITY, DIVERSITY, AND INCLUSION COMMISSION EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. AIA NJ’s 2018 President, Verity Frizzell, AIA, served on the commission that studied the subject, created the summary and developed priority recommendations in 2016.

“Our resolve and commitment to work toward a more diverse profession is a key value the Institute will not shy away from,” said 2017 AIA President Thomas Vonier, FAIA. “This report gives the AIA a solid framework to move closer to a more equitable and inclusive profession. In the months ahead, we look forward to implementing some of the recommendations put forth.”


You may access the report here. 


In 2017, under President Ben Lee, AIA, AIA NJ committed themselves to the following statement:


AIA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Statement

The American Institute of Architects, as part of the global community, champions a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion within the profession of architecture to create a better environment for all. Achieving this vision has a direct impact on the relevance of our profession and the world’s prosperity, health, and future.


In 2018, we invite you to be a part of the conversation, the evolution, and the solution. Please step forward and raise your hand if you wish to join the AIA NJ Equity in Architecture committee as we plan opportunities to plant the seeds for equity to grow in our community.

For more information and to get involved, please contact the 2018 Equity in Architecture Chair, Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA at staceykliesch@gmail.com.



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