Architecture has a problem of representation. Of the approximately 122,000 architects in the United States and its territories, 24% are women, 4% identify as Hispanic or Latino and 2% identify as black, according to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. According to the Directory of African American Architects, only 0.4% of licensed professionals (532 at time of publication) identify as black women.
For 50 years, the National Organization of Minority Architects has been an advocate and leader for creating fair, equitable, diverse and inclusive outcomes in the built environment. In 1971, 12 African-American architects from across the country met, some for the first time, at the AIA National Convention in Detroit. These professionals recognized the urgent need for an organization dedicated to the development and advancement of color designers, and black architects in particular. This meeting laid the foundation and the vision for what would become NOMA.
Today, with nearly 3,000 members and 117 professional and student sections, the nonprofit continues to advocate for diversity in design through education, professional development, advocacy and advocacy. activism. And others in the profession are joining us.
The American Institute of Architects has taken steps to advance fairness both within the profession as a whole and internally, by reviewing its own operations, policies, initiatives, etc. In 2009, AIA and NOMA signed their first Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate in efforts to increase the diversity of the profession. The memorandum of understanding, which has been renewed several times since, remains in effect.
We have seen progress, starting with the widespread, albeit belated, recognition of systemic racism and discrimination by the design community. But we can do it faster and better together.
An abridged version of this introduction opens the October 2021 issue of ARCHITECT. The number of architects and the number of black female architects have been updated here.