Diversity, equity, and inclusion are three words increasingly appearing in conference programs, seminar agendas, syllabi, and media publications—including ARCHITECT. But what does DEI have to do with architecture and design? In this episode, three experts discuss how they respond to frequently asked questions about the role and place of DEI, justice, and belonging—and they do so with the understanding that not everyone is starting from the same place of understanding or interest.

L to r: Nancy Alexander, Gabrielle Bullock, Renée Cheng
Photo credits (l to r): Mistina Hanscom, Noah Pylvainen / courtesy Perkins&Will, Sean Airhart / NBBJ L to r: Nancy Alexander, Gabrielle Bullock, Renée Cheng

Nancy Alexander is a certified master facilitator and the founder of Lumenance Consulting, based in New Haven, Conn. Gabrielle Bullock, FAIA, is a Los Angeles–based principal and the director of global diversity at Perkins&Will. Renée Cheng, FAIA, is dean of the University of Washington’s College of Built Environments, in Seattle. Alexander and Cheng worked together on creating the AIA Guides for Equitable Practice, a nine-part series originally released between November 2018 and December 2019. A second edition of the series came out last December. Along with Karen Williams, AIA, and Laura Osburn, they are co-authoring two forthcoming special editions of the guides focused on specific areas of disciplines.

Bullock served on the AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee (formerly called the Equity in Architecture Commission), which was a partner in developing the AIA Guides to Equitable Practice, along with the University of Minnesota (where Cheng was previously head of the architecture school) and the University of Washington. In January 2021, Bullock co-led an effort by Perkins&Will with AIA to create a white paper on how architecture firms can create a culture of justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

This podcast episode was produced by Wanda Lau and Rob Grauert.