Contributed by:
Kate Aoki
Assoc. AIA

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It’s About Equity

Starting off 2017, the Communities by Design committee is focusing conversation on equity, an open topic that will lead us to explore many evolving issues in the region. As we broaden our vision, join us for an exciting year of events and dialogue.

We are entering 2017 at a moment unlike any others in recent history; times feel tumultuous and coming to a consensus on the issues needing attention is complicated, which makes solutions to those issues even more complicated.

In trying to coordinate between the new reality which affects us both nationally and locally, with the existing issues of which we’re already aware, we in the Communities by Design Committee are thinking critically about how we can open the dialogue and begin to tease out ideas to address the topics affecting our built environment. We are framing the context of our discussions around the notion of equity; we value the malleable and fluid nature of the definition of equity, as it allows us to broaden the conversation in order to apply the concept to our programs and ideas.

Our monthly meetings will not only educate us via speakers and presentations, but also give us a chance to employ think tank-like strategies to address topical and pressing needs in our communities. We are currently re-writing our mission statement in order to update our position as a committee, and to more accurately reflect our intentions within the community. We are also in the process of developing programs which explore some of the missing pieces in our neighborhoods such as affordable housing for the middle class vs. gentrification. Additionally, we’re looking at some long-term events that can be put in place now and refined over the years to come, such as a Communities by Design Day of Service. We’re also expanding our online presence with a brand new Facebook page and more frequent blog posts in order to maximize our reach and to ensure that the programs and events we work so hard to plan can be broadcast to a wider audience.

As design professionals we are uniquely qualified to see the environment in a very specific way, and to give back in a fashion that reflects our perspective and our values. We are looking forward to a productive and enlightened year, and one in which we are able to contribute to our communities and our society in a way that only we can. We are grateful to those long-standing members of our committee who have shaped our mission, and we welcome with open arms those new members who have just joined us. We are always searching for new voices and perspectives to broaden our vision, so please don’t hesitate to join us at lunch on the fourth Thursday of every month: we have been looking for you.