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Designing for Diversity: Gender, Race,a nd Ethnicity in the Architectural Profession
by:Kathryn H. Anthony
Providing hard data for trends that many perceive only vaguely and some deny altogether, Designing for Diversity reveals a profession rife with gender and racial discrimination and examines the aspects of architectural practice that hinder or support the full participation of women and persons of color. Drawing on interviews and surveys of hundreds of...
Providing hard data for trends that many perceive only vaguely and some deny altogether, Designing for Diversity reveals a profession rife with gender and racial discrimination and examines the aspects of architectural practice that hinder or support the full participation of women and persons of color. Drawing on interviews and surveys of hundreds of architects, Kathryn H. Anthony outlines some of the forms of discrimination that recur most frequently in architecture: being offered added responsibility without a commensurate rise in position, salary, or credit; not being allowed to engage in client contact, field experience, or construction supervision; and being confined to certain kinds of positions, typically interior design for women, government work for African Americans, and computer-aided design for Asian American architects. Anthony discusses the profession's attitude toward flexible schedules, part-time contracts, and the demands of family and identifies strategies that have helped underrepresented individuals advance in the profession, especially establishing a strong relationship with a mentor. She also observes a strong tendency for underrepresented architects to leave mainstream practice, either establishing their own firms, going into government or corporate work, or abandoning the field altogether. Given the traditional mismatch between diverse consumers and predominantly white male producers of the built environment, plus the shifting population balance toward communities of color, Anthony contends that the architectural profession staves off true diversity at its own peril. Designing for Diversity argues convincingly that improving the climate for nontraditional architects will do much to strengthen architecture as a profession. Practicing architects, managers of firms, and educators will learn how to create conditions more welcoming to a diversity of users as well as designers of the built environment.
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