09-20-18

Design Diversity Index

DesignDiversityIndex

The CUDC and our project partner, Jacinda Walker, recently completed a Design Diversity Index for Ohio. This project was made possible with the generous support of The George Gund Foundation.

The Design Diversity Index project began with a question: How can the design community know which actions are working best to increase diversity in our fields? We collected demographic data about the people currently in design schools and the design professions so that strategies for increasing diversity can be evaluated based on their results.

The resulting Design Diversity Index is a tool for gauging the numbers and percentages of people of color in architecture, landscape architecture, graphic design, industrial design, interior design, and urban planning in Ohio’s universities and professional organizations. The Index focuses on representation of African American and Latinx communities. Using available data, the Index establishes current baseline conditions and will track annual progress toward expanding racial diversity in the design professions.

The project found that representation by people of color in the design professions in Ohio is low. For example, African Americans are the second largest ethnic group in Ohio (12.2%), but have the lowest representation in architecture among the state’s five major ethnic groups (African American, Hispanic, Asian, White, and Other). According to the American Community Survey, only 1.29% (76 people) of Ohio’s architects are African American. If we hope to make the design professions more open and inclusive, we can first begin by understanding the design journey–the paths that people take from first discovering an interest in design, to pursuing a design education, and ultimately finding work in a design field.

Mapping the design journey (Jacinda Walker, www.designexplorr.com/research)

Mapping the design journey (Jacinda Walker, www.designexplorr.com)

The Design Diversity Index is an important step toward understanding barriers to diversity in the design professions today, and tracking progress toward greater design diversity in the future.

For more information and to download the Design Diversity Index report. please visit DESIGN DIVERSITY

Leave a Comment