Justin Garrett Moore is an urban designer, the executive director of the New York City Public Design Commission, and an adjunct associate professor of architecture in the urban design and planning programs of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. His influential work on the guidelines in Designing New York: Quality Affordable Housing revolutionized the approach to the critical—and consistently underserved—typology, creating better, more inclusive, and more holistic spaces to serve communities. Because of his expertise and design innovation, we were honored to have him speak on an AIA + ARCHITECT panel at the 2018 AIA Conference in New York. But when the video of that panel was posted to this website that August, Moore, the only black voice on the panel, was (as he tweeted on June 9) “literally erased.”

And he was erased. The edited video erased his presence and participation completely, but left that of the other three panelists, who are white. It was a complete lapse in judgment in our events-content development process, and a breakdown of protocols. Its creation and posting circumvented editorial staff review and the checkpoints intended to ensure the accuracy and completeness of ARCHITECT’s content. The fact that Moore and his fellow panelists reached out following their viewing of the video and were ignored is indefensible, as is the fact that it took Moore’s tweet, two years later, to make me aware of his erasure. And while the intent behind the edits was not motivated by the desire to silence the voice of a black designer, the impact and appearance are exactly that. It caused pain and trauma, and perpetuated the pervasive silencing of black voices in our society and industry. The video was ARCHITECT’s content entirely—AIA did not have a role in the creation or editing of it. ARCHITECT takes full responsibility for it, and I thank Moore for holding us accountable. The fact that he and his fellow panelists—and not someone in the editing process—had to call us out is damning, but we needed it to address systemic inequity in the industry. While this would not rectify our wrong, we did try to replace the inaccurate video with a new, unedited version that includes Moore’s voice—as it should have all along—but because of the length of time that has passed, the master footage is no longer available. As the newly appointed editor-in-chief of ARCHITECT, I know that expressing my deep regret and frustration that Moore’s erasure occurred joins a long line of apologies, but it is accompanied by a commitment to prevent this mistake from happening again. ARCHITECT's publishing company Hanley Wood will immediately:

  • Undertake a review of our current content publishing guidelines and process
  • Implement stricter control and oversight: Specifically, there will be no direct publishing to any media site, including ARCHITECT, without review by designated editorial personnel
  • Hold a refresher training course for all content publishers across all teams, including events, to review and understand guidelines and best practices

I am committed to listening to and learning from you, our readers, and particularly to and from black architects and other architects of color. Your voices deserve and need to be heard, and you deserve better champions of your work. At ARCHITECT, we are striving every day to provide a platform for, to celebrate, and to listen to the critical underrepresented voices in the design industry, and to expose and address the longstanding inequities in the profession. We failed here. We must do better. And we will continue to hold ourselves accountable when we make mistakes so that we can better serve the black voices in our industry.