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DEI – across the CRE supply chain

Presented to the NAREIM Architecture & Engineering meeting

Austin, September 28-30

Only 2% of architects in the US are African American – while just 0.04% were African American women, Jason Pugh, President of NOMA, the National Organization of Minority Architects revealed at this week’s Architecture & Engineering meeting.

During a presentation on NOMA and its work promoting Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), Pugh said architects and engineers had led the conversation around sustainability more than a decade ago, but when it came to DEI the industry had been left “flat footed”.

“Today, clients and owners are spurring the conversation,” he told the in-person meeting in Austin.

Highlighting the lack of women, Latin Americans, African Americans and Native Americans in architecture, Pugh spoke about the work of NOMA, particularly among elementary, middle and high school students.

One NOMA project – a 5-day architecture camp – was focused on educating young students about architecture as a potential career path and saw kids spend one week building models – first of their own home, then a community center, a skyscraper and then creating cities. The final day, he said, was letting them demolish the city they’d built, all while showing the students the possibilities of a career in architecture.

The camp was at the core of NOMA’s mission, he explained: “You can’t be what you can’t see.” And without projects and camps such as these, diverse school children would never even consider the potential of a career in architecture or commercial real estate.

As part of the work of NOMA, Pugh urged managers to put DEI language in RFPs and final contracts and ensure minority architects received design credits for their work on projects.

NOMA is just one of several DEI-focused groups talking to NAREIM members this fall – with REEC, Project Destined, ICSC and Future Housing Leaders also sharing best practices in building diverse recruitment pipelines at NAREIM’s DEI Summit on November 10.

The Global Real Estate DEI Survey is also still open for submissions – but only until October 22. Benchmarking gender, ethnicity and nationality across seniority and job functions, the Survey will compare real estate investment management metrics and performance with that of other sectors in CRE.

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