To our readers,
The deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and other Black Americans at the hands of police sadden us. The mass actions for justice that their deaths have prompted have our full endorsement.
The street demonstrations in cities and towns across the country have shown that sweeping reform is not only possible but necessary. We mourn with the communities that have been and continue to be brutalized by systemic anti-Black racism. The tragedy of all social causes are the human victims that set them on their course, and so we must moderate our hope with humility.
Architecture and planning, we know, are complicit in forms of domination. Buildings make inequity—historical and ongoing—palpable, even as they are themselves inert. Redlining, segregation, disinvestment from predominantly Black neighborhoods, their wholesale dismantlement through urban renewal, deficits in public health planning, and other exclusionary policies are frozen in brick, concrete, and glass.
Disenfranchisement requires active maintenance, and professional barriers can seem as immovable as any wall or building. This is reflected in the abysmal rate of diversity—across race, class, and gender lines—within the architectural profession itself and the educational and media institutions that underpin it.
Social justice was always at the heart of the mission of The Architect’s Newspaper since its founding in 2003, but we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge lapses in judgment over the years. Too often, architectural media proliferates the same voices and permits the same omissions, and we pledge to avoid any such missteps going forward.
At the same time, we realize that statements of intent are responses to moments of intense outward pressure, and when that pressure subsides, commitments slacken. So we invite you, our readers and the wider AN community, to hold us accountable in elevating Black, Indigenous, and people of color and taking direction from their example.
As a starting point, we pledge the following actions:
- Naming more Black practitioners and those from other minority groups to AN’s editorial advisory board
- Increasing the number of Black and underrepresented writers and contributors
- Increasing the participation of Black and underrepresented people in public panels
- Increasing the participation of Black and underrepresented people in awards juries
- Including a social impact rubric for awards
- Working with HBCUs to find interns when our internship program resumes
We also want to signal our support for the following causes and avail ourselves of the following resources.
- Funds for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor
- Black Lives Matter
- Reclaim the Block
- The Marshall Project
- NOMA: National Organization of Minority Architects
- BIDN (Black Interior Designers Network)
- Design Justice
- Black in Design
- ADPSR (Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility)
- An excellent reading list about architecture, planning, and racial injustice put together by Mario Gooden, Mabel Wilson, and the Architectural League staff
—Diana Darling, AN Media Group, and The Architect’s Newspaper editors