In a time in our country’s history where social justice is seemingly sought after everyday, the issues of inequalities appear not only in interactions with the police and citizenry, but also through urban design. According to a recent report by the Sacramento Auditor, these issues may be due to the ethnic makeup of those who work on design projects and the fact that it those that do not reflect the actual makeup of the city of Sacramento.
On July 19th, the Budget and Audit committee headed by Mayor Kevin Johnson received a report at old city hall in regards to employee demographics in Sacramento. The report compared the city’s residents demographics to its workforce.
This report showed that many ethnicities are underrepresented in several departments, including the Community Development Department.
“The Community Development Department plans for the future growth, development, and prosperity of Sacramento,” says the report.
This department is in charge of building and construction oversight throughout the city. The majority of the department is made up of caucasians and a majority of those with management positions are white. The numbers provided show a lack of diversity in those who want to have a hand in Sacramento’s future growth, which in itself is becoming much more diverse.
“I think it’s clear to all of us that this report is really important. I think it’s eye opening,” Johnson said after the report was presented. “And now that we have this information we need to make sure we take action to address it in a real way.”
Throughout American history, there has been racism and inequality through legislation such as the Housing Act of 1949 and Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 which put freeways through predominantly black neighborhoods.There are also issues with public transportation and that some places are not getting to use public transportation, which should be more of a right than a privilege.
In a recent article, Justin Moore, an architecture professor at Columbia University presented some of today’s modern design problems.
“In 2016, it remains the case that the majority of the people who plan, design, and build our communities and cities lack the diversity of those same communities and cities,” Moore said. “It is a big problem that is not being addressed or taken seriously at the broad scale and scope necessary to make a meaningful impact.”
Armed with the information that was released from this report, many believe that the community of Sacramento should look towards a resolution of creating a more diverse city work force. In order to combat design inequalities, those with a hand in the city’s future should have an ethnic makeup similar to the city’s resident demographics.