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How to Engage Diversity in Design? Build a Network of Voices.

July 10 – 12 marked the 4th annual Diversity Summit—a monumental commitment by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) to address the crisis of diversity amongst practitioners within the Landscape Architecture profession. Hosted by ASLA at their headquarters in Washington D.C, the Diversity Summit brought together emerging African-American and Latino professionals to share, discuss, and brainstorm strategies on how to meet the challenge of addressing diversity by raising public awareness.

When faced with the question of how a professional organization like ASLA, and other allied-professions alike, can engage and support diversity amongst its practitioners, one method the Diversity Summit demonstrates is to start by building a network of voices. Voices of color, race, gender, multicultural upbringings – the unique fundamentals that define each and every one of us. When provided an opportunity to share and reflect, this network of voices sing powerful stories of hardships transformed into successes through scholarship, and setbacks translated into advancements through mentorship.

Through the efforts and success of ASLA’s Diversity Summit over the past four years, a network of voices has emerged and is thriving. These voices are inspired to serve their local ASLA chapters with the responsibility of helping to raise the awareness of diversity and why it matters. But more importantly, these voices are motivated to not only sit at the table, but to facilitate discussions about the future of our built environment, all the while remembering it’s their voice of being different that brought them to where they are.

To read more about ASLA’s efforts and plans to increase opportunities and facilitate conversations about diversity within the profession, click here.

About the Author: Angelica Rockquemore is a Landscape Designer and Planner at HHF Planners. This year marks the second year that she has been chosen as one of 12 invitees to attend the ASLA Diversity Summit. Angelica Rockquemore joined HHF Planners two years ago, a Fulbright Scholar with experience studying Japanese garden preservation practices in Kyoto, Japan; and expertise in designing outdoor play areas in Maori language immersion preschools (a part of her Master’s thesis), in New Zealand.

Diversity Participants, 2016.

Day-long brainstorming sessions and workshops on ways to improve on increasing diversity within the profession organized by ASLA’s Director of Public Relations, Terry Poltrak.

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