We envision a world where everyone - regardless of race, abilities, income, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or immigration status - has the opportunity to live in healthy, safe, sustainable, and equitable communities.
The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others are reminders that we continue to live in a world where our vision is not yet a reality.
The most recent mass-scale demonstrations against racism and acts of police violence are reminders that we are not alone in striving to make this country equitable and just for all.
In our work as planners, designers, and researchers, we see how institutional and structural racism and white supremacy results in inequitable land use decisions, infrastructure investments and government budgets that disproportionately burden Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We believe that race and ethnicity, gender, class, disability status, and zip code should not predict poorer housing quality, lower access to affordable and quality education, unjust policing and higher rates of incarceration, and shorter life expectancies and higher rates of illness (e.g., COVID), among others.
R+A reaffirms our commitment to bringing an equity and justice lens to our work. We are driven by a desire to help the communities in which we work to understand the disparities that exist. At the same time, we recognize that our professions have been complicit in reinforcing inequities. We also acknowledge that we are part of the system that reinforces structural and institutional racism and our past work may have contributed to these inequities in the communities in which we worked.
Moving forward, R+A will continue to change the way we work internally and externally in order to unlearn racism and invest in action-oriented change that amplifies the voices of the most impacted communities and populations. Through this lens we hope to do our part in creating a world where everyone - regardless of race, abilities, income, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or immigration status - has the opportunity to live in healthy, safe, sustainable, and equitable communities.
We have identified the following specific actions that we recommit to as a firm:
Standardize our equity and justice lens by systematizing equity analysis and developing equity and justice goals, policies, indicators, and outcomes that prioritize health, safety, and sustainability for BIPOC communities and others who suffer injustice.
Evaluate our current and past work and acknowledge roles of planners, designers and researchers in creating and contributing to the inequities we see in our communities today. This includes actions such as reviewing exclusionary land use and zoning practices, evaluating community safety policies in comprehensive plans, and describing historic exclusionary practices like redlining and its impact on the current environment.
Always ask the questions of “Who does this benefit?” and “Are BIPOC disproportionately impacted?” when developing our community engagement events, policies and plans.
Identify short- and long-term actions that communities can take to prioritize resources and funding in impacted communities. This will be done through diverse engagement practices, partnering with community based organizations, and reviewing and recommending alternate approaches to budgeting.
Amplify and support the voices and lived experiences of BIPOC residents and others who have suffered injustices through rigorous listening, outreach, and analysis to ensure diverse community voices are engaged in decision making.
Bring BIPOC partners onto our projects to lift up their voices and expertise. This includes expanding partnerships with local DBEs and small BIPOC firms, subcontracting with community-based non-profits, and compensating (non-elected) community members to assist with engagement to BIPOC residents.
Donate and provide pro bono resources to impacted communities. This includes annual donations, matched donations, and supporting cities with grant applications. We commit to spending time and effort engaging these residents in the process, regardless of whether we are compensated by our clients.
Focus recruitment on BIPOC planners and researchers by building relationships through targeted networking and marketing efforts.
Continue to build staff capacity related to racial equity and justice and acknowledge privilege through reflection sessions, professional development, and ongoing discussions.