At ARO, we believe we all have a fundamental responsibility to be active and participatory citizens. Asserting our values and principle-driven design, studio members are encouraged to take initiative on social and environmental issues within the office.
Building on ARO initiatives like the Materials Working Group and Zero-Waste Team, a Social Equity group formed in 2020 to identify and pursue ongoing and accountable action – beyond our words – to dismantle systemic issues within our profession and design process.
Our framework reflects internal and external actions to increase representation within our office and on our teams; strengthen the culture of the office improving transparency and dialogue within the office; expand design engagement beyond client stakeholders to work with the larger communities and neighborhoods we and our projects serve; and support an equitable pipeline and access to the architectural profession by encouraging staff mentorship of NYC students through local high school and college mentorship programs.
The Social Equity Group encourages office-wide dialogue and is an open-door working group at ARO, sharing in-progress and completed actions quarterly to the office.
Key implementations include:
- A multi-step internal, identity-hidden review process for hiring to reduce inherent bias in reviewing potential candidates
- An annual ARO donation match to social organizations of employees’ choice
- An annual Day of Action volunteering our in-person and remote time and labor with GrowNYC and Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy so far
- Codifying representation of our staffing and consultant teams on projects
We earnestly embrace the work and commitment necessary to address our intersectional climate and social issues, and to manifest a more equitable profession and society. We will continue to share our journey towards becoming a more liberatory practice and have found the following resources particularly helpful: