A call for designs that provide Portland a more equitable future

By October 24, 2019 No Comments

Published in the DJC Oregon: Black Women Help Kick off Sustainable Building Week

The notion of equity in design can have many different meanings.

For instance, the U.S. Green Building Council in 2013 introduced Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design social equity pilot credits. They address equity within the project team, equity in the community around a project and equity within the project supply chain. However … “When folks questioned us about the human impact we found it was missing the people side of the framework,” said Kimberly Lewis, U.S. Green Building Council senior vice president for market transformation and development.

Six years later, the LEED social equity credits remain a work in progress. But Lewis believes the design community can do more to move the needle. “We struggle with amplifying the message,” she told attendees at a panel discussion Tuesday at the Center for Architecture in Portland. “Our heart and our mission are as powerful as we want, and it’s a great social justice message. But to the people on the street all things are local, and engaging vulnerable communities is not easy. Trust takes time, and we have a responsibility to shift the conversation. It’s us – even here.”

The discussion was part of Portland’s second annual Sustainable Building Week, a weeklong event dedicated to sustainable design and construction.

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