Serena Ching, Bronze Medal Nominee (2016)

Reflection on “Equity”

Equality vs. Equity

Today, the idea of equality is more clearly understood and accepted in society than equity. While the long-established notion that all were created equal under God and the law aims at granting everyone the same access to resources and opportunities, which we see as fairness and equality, society is not composed by a generalized “everyone,” but a mosaic of individuals with different shortcomings and abilities. Unfortunately, the failure to recognize and embrace this diversity is evident in history, where discrimination and injustices have prevented certain people from the knowledge and opportunities necessary for participation in the public sphere[1]. Individuals find themselves needing to overcome the gap on their own in order to be on the same “playing field” that society defines as equality. Equity aims at redressing the injustices in history by empowering and including everyone in their unique ways to be active participants in society.

Listening, designing, communicating, making (repeat)

Design is a circular progression towards a better solution. Society is composed of many dents and holes, niches in which we can contribute our passions and knowledge towards. To be informed by the needs and desires of people requires active listening and probing, which then sparks a multiplicity of creative solutions to be investigated and communicated back for public critique, leading to an active engagement with society to impact change. Together with the help of today’s communication technologies, when architects address this issue through this familiar approach, the journey and outcome becomes more engaging and visible. Whether it be raising awareness of gender inequality for career progression through a series of national survey and discussions[2], or implementing design for special needs children in an educational project, the opportunities to impact change is endless.

[1] “Equality and Equity of Access: What’s the Difference?” American Library Association, May 29, 2007.      http://www.ala.org/offices/oif/iftoolkits/toolkitrelatedlinks/equalityequity (Accessed March 11, 2016).

[2] Sheng, Rosa. “Equity.” By Design [EQxD]. Accessed March 11, 2016. http://eqxdesign.com/equity/.

 

Exhibits of Coursework (click to expand)

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