London’s deputy mayor, Jules Pipe, has criticised architecture’s lack of improvement on diversity, telling an AJ100 audience ‘progress isn’t inevitable’
Speaking at an AJ100 Breakfast Club event at St Pancras Hotel in King’s Cross on Friday morning (15 June), Pipe said those designing London should reflect the city’s diversity.
’Unfortunately this isn’t currently the case,’ he said, pointing out that only 37 per cent of architect jobs in London are held by women, a figure he said had decreased since 2011.
In addition, he said BAME architects continue to experience discrimination in the workplace and the profession is less diverse in terms of ethnicity than others.
The deputy mayor for planning, regeneration and skills said a recent AJ article revealing that the number of BAME architects had dropped among the top practices was ‘really disappointing’.
He said: ’This under-representation undermines the built environment sector’s collective efforts to achieve good growth.’
’Progress isn’t inevitable and we should never sit back and say it is. Despite the best intentions of many people in the sector diversity and equality can’t be expected to happen on its own.’
Pipe, the former mayor of Hackney, said most architecture practices did not have strong equality and diversity policies in place and ‘even fewer’ gathered data.
Monitoring data on the gender pay gap and under-represented groups was a crucial first step in understanding the problem, he said.
Pipe urged architecture practices to consult City Hall’s new diversity handbook, launched last month, for advice on practical tools.
The diversity handbook is part of the GLA’s six-part Good Growth by Design programme, which includes building local authority planning capacity and improving design quality.