Miller Hull

Perspectives. Equity Moment: An Introduction

1-19-2024 | Perspectives

“The buildings, cities, and landscapes where we live are not neutral. They are shaped by the interests of those in power, often exclude others – people of color, regularly – from the decisions, processes, and profits.” The Architect’s Newspaper, June 2023

At Miller Hull, we endeavor to Do Good, Go Deep and Be Bold in all of our project work, and we’ve always practiced design with a spirit of great care for how our projects impact both individuals and communities. As designers, it is imperative that we understand how our different experiences affect our way of life; how our interpretations, our sensitivities, and the ways we go about navigating a physical space are inevitably influenced by the color of our skin or our physical capabilities. When it is our job to design places that hold people, house them, help them feel connected to one another, we need to ensure that everyone who enters that space feels validated and seen.

In recent years, however, we have increasingly come to understand that we need to be more direct and intentional in designing work that specifically responds to issues of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI). We’ve enacted a JEDI initiative, and have created an internal advisory group called Equity Lab, but we are still figuring out what questions to ask and how to ask them. How are we leaving important people out of the design engagement process? What is the best way to engage people moving forward? How might we learn about lived experiences other than our own? How can we be more sensitive and compassionate to those experiences? What are examples of practices that have become so institutionalized that we’ve grown blind to their deeply-discriminatory underpinnings?

We are still at the beginning of our anti-racist journey and won’t pretend like we have all the answers. One truth we do know, however, is that practicing in an anti-racist AEC industry is first and foremost critical. To that end, we will be taking our internal conversations, theories, debates, stories of success and stories of disappointment, and putting them into the world with the hope that we can become better (and bolder) together.