Design Journeys: Strategies for Increasing Diversity in Design Disciplines

Diversity is a life-long commitment. It is far more than just implementing affirmative action policies and hiring a few women, ethnic and culturally diverse individuals. A commitment to diversity in the design industry will require a significant change from all parties involved to increase the low number of African-American and Latino designers, business owners and educators. My area of focus examines the lack of diversity in the design disciplines and how to expose African-American and Latino youth to design. My research question investigates what are effective tools to expose African-American and Latino youth to design-related careers.

In Designing for Diversity: Implications for Architectural Education in the Twenty-First Century, 2002, Kathryn H. Anthony, Ph.D., ASCA, calls for a more “proactive stance toward diversity” at architectural design schools (Anthony, “Implications” 266). Critical issues such as globalization, generational trends and economic challenges for families have caused our society to face the importance of diversity. As the importance of diversity grows, so does the need for more diversity in all the areas of design.

Additional supporting factors that speak to the importance of greater diversity in design include:

  • Increasing the diversity in design is a business strategy that will generate more ideas and better solutions.
  • In this knowledge-based, tech-driven, global world, exclusion is no longer sustainable.
  • More diversity in the design industry will lead to increased creativity, productivity and innovation.
  • Design can create opportunities for underrepresented populations in academics, employment and entrepreneurship.
  • More African-American and Latino designers in the industry will provide role models for youth in underrepresented communities.

5 thoughts on “Design Journeys: Strategies for Increasing Diversity in Design Disciplines

  1. The historical reference of diversity is documented through each culture by virtue of language, artifacts, housing, dance, drawings, religious/faith expression and symbolism. To achieve a more harmonious diverse design force; one must first acknowledgment the separate but equal cultural dynamics and their influences on a homogenous population. African American and Latino American cultural identities have emerged as new paradigms of consumption on all levels. Exposure to design fields in any form opens all eyes and all possibilities.

  2. responding to the diversity reference ..

    Recently, Ted Landsmark, the African-American President of the prestigious Boston Architectural College http://www.the-bac.edu/ – left his post.

    So they say a city’s architecture is influenced by its dominant society?

    There are few if any black impressions represented in building and civic, visual architectures that leaving important impressions on viewers in Boston, although blacks have been here since 1638.

    So this diversity thing could solve that problem going forward, huh?

  3. the WMC Race, diversity and design panel was nothing short of amazing. i offer my sincerest thanks to all the panelist, everyone that came out to support us and assist at the booth. there have been, so very many positive things that came from it. having received a standing ovation and tons of positive feedback directly from the attendees, i am confident we made a difference. we must stay steadfast in our efforts to make our voices heard. even though sometimes our task appear to be daunting and efforts may seem to go on deaf ears, it is imperative we persevere. our work is too great. our cause is too big to stop. know that people are watching and things are beginning to move.

    please do not hesitate to contact me directly with any additional questions or comments. i am happy to share the dialogue, connections and feedback I received. i look forward to our next event, which is the creative control fest. i hope you all will attend.

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