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What is Equity in Architecture and Design?

The definition of equity in dictionaries is the quality of giving equal treatment to everyone while still acknowledging the differences between individuals. In this sense, equity means fairness in the way we act toward each person but keeping in mind his or her specific characteristics and needs. From a medical perspective, equity implies that everyone needs care and attention but not necessarily the same. It is also worth mentioning that the terms equity and equality are often used interchangeably but they mean different things, mainly because equality is based on the principle of universal rights, in which all individuals are subject to the same rules, without exception.

“Universal Representation Is Utopian”: Erica Malunguinho Talks About Urban Equity

When crossing a space, a body carries within it many meanings. The reading that translates into this person-architecture dialogue, and the sensations that arise from it, demonstrate much of the social inequality and violent structures intrinsic to the Western imagination, which privileges the same standard: the white man. Finding a place of rebalancing in which it is possible to create an alternation of power —in race and gender - is a commitment by Erica Malunguinho.

Rights to the City and Urban Conflicts in Latin America: What Can Be Done?

María Cristina Cravino, the head of numerous research projects and publications on informal settlements and the politics of public habitation, draws from her background in anthropology to become one of the most prominent voices in the discussion about rights to the city and modern urban conflicts. 

Is There a Solution to Inequality in Latin American Cities?

The concept of equity is different from equality; equity means everyone needs support, but not necessarily in the same way. Therefore, the concept of urban equity allows us to preserve the uniqueness of each region of a municipality, protecting diversity and richness without overlooking infrastructure needs, which directly affect the quality of public space and the basic services required for a private residence - it allows us to design and invest in the city fairly, regardless of the region.

“The Citizen Urbanism Claims an Alternative Urban Model From Latin America”: Ocupa Tu Calle’s Lucia Nogales

Lucía Nogales is the general coordinator of Ocupa tu Calle (Occupy your Street) —an UN-Habitat, Avina Foundation-supported initiative promoted by Lima Como Vamos— which focuses on 'citizen urbanism' for inclusive and resilient cities in Latin America.

The Evolution of the House Plan in the United States: Post-war Era

Following the Second World War, United States veterans and citizens were seeking a fresh start, a rightful place to live out their modern American dream. With a significant housing shortage looming around and fast-growing families, solutions had to be found to provide equitable living means for all. The development of new construction techniques and propagation of easy building materials promised an age of prosperity.

"It’s Not Because You Are Limited in Resources That You Should Accept Mediocrity": Interview with Francis Kéré

African architecture has received deserved international attention in the last decade and one of the main responsible for this is, undoubtedly, Diébédo Francis Kéré. Born in Gando, Burkina Faso, Kéré graduated in architecture at the Technische Universität Berlin, in Germany. Today, he maintains branches of his firm, Kéré Architecture, in both countries, through which he seeks to develop works in the "intersection of utopia and pragmatism", exploring the border between Western architecture and local practice.

Are Our Cities Built for the Youth?

Cities we live in today have been built on principles designed decades ago, with prospects of ensuring that they are habitable by everyone. Throughout history, cities have been catalysts of economic growth, serving as focal points for businesses and migration. However, in the last decade, particularly during the last couple of years, the world has  witnessed drastic reconfigurations in the way societies work, live, and commute.

The Impossibility of Equity

“Equity” is a moving target. We who create architecture want our devotion to have a true forum of objective Equity. But motivations are not outcomes. How we judge design inevitably carries the baggage of “Style” and that makes universal equity in design apprehension impossible.

Contemporary Social Housing in China: Playing with the Constraints

Saskia Sassen, the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University, predicts in her co-authored book “The Quito Papers and the New Urban Agendathat, in the future cities will become our crucial battlefield as we continue to fight against gentrification and growing degree of isolation in our communities. Sassen argues that, “Cities should be an inclusive space for both the affluent and the poor. Nevertheless, in reality our cities never achieved equality for all, because our cities were never designed that way. Still cities ought not to be a place that tolerates inequality or injustice”.