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BY ANJULIE RAO

Beyond the Built Environment is inspiring everyone to lift while they climb.

FROM THE MAY 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE

 

One day, Pascale Sablan sat down at her computer and googled the phrase “great architects.” Dozens of architects’ names appeared on the screen, and to her surprise, very few of them looked like her. “There was one woman—Zaha Hadid—and nine people of color,” says Sablan, an architect at S9 Architecture in New York. Hadid, holding two boats, also accounted for one of those nine.

In that moment Sablan was concerned for kids, because when kids hear about something they might like to do—maybe architecture, or landscape architecture—“they google it first,” she says. To find out why so many white men would appear in that search, she contacted Google and was told that there was not enough content created, referenced, or cross-referenced that had addressed the contributions of the myriad women or people of color in design. She thought, What about those architects, landscape architects, and urban planners practicing right now? Where is their library of greatness?

Sablan’s nonprofit organization, Beyond the Built Environment, is now bringing diverse designers to the forefront. “We’re focusing on designers who are using their talents to combat social injustices in policy and the built environment, designers who are engaging communities to solve problems that people wouldn’t think design can solve,” she explains. “We are elevating talented designers who are making the profession an amenity to the community rather than just to developers.” (more…)

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