At the AIA 2004 National Convention in Chicago, delegates called for a study of AIA demographics. Thereby, the mission of the AIA Diversity Committee, which I chair this year, received a much-needed boost.
- Expand the diversity of the design professions to mirror the society that we serve
- Promote awareness of the contributions of architects from under-represented racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability groups
- Encourage alternatives to traditional practice models
- Provide opportunities for an ever-greater variety of individuals to become architects, take advantage of leadership opportunities, and influence our practices and our professional lives.
So diversity means more than race and gender, it reaches to all manners of discrimination against our fellow professionals, including the long-held notion that if you don't act or look like one of us, you're not really an architect.
But do we really care as a profession (or as a nation)?
I wonder even as I read about the King Memorial groundbreaking, because I've seen some of the readership numbers on an AIArchitect series on diversity by Stephen Kliment, FAIA, which are very low despite the articles being very interesting; so much so that the Diversity Committee has opted to include them as Featured Articles on our AIA.org page.
Tell us what you think.