Racial and Environmental Justice in the Built Environment, and the New NOMA President

Episode 027 • 41 min

This week, we have an important topic — we’ll be discussing how designers can infuse equity into the built environment.


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We’re in a racial inequity pandemic that has lasted for centuries, the impacts of which are felt by communities of color in the form of racism, inaccessibility of resources, and under-investment. This pandemic spills into the built environment where for centuries, the design of our cities, neighborhoods, and public spaces has added to and truly made physical this racial injustice. When designers create the built environment in collaboration with real estate developers and civic leaders, every design element sends a signal about what space is for and who it’s for — and too often, urban designs exclude rather than include. So designing the built environment needs to change so that our communities, neighborhoods, and resources are accessible and shared by all, now and into the future — because designs for the built environment usually last a very long time. Our guest co-host this week is Atianna Cordova, a native of New Orleans, an urban designer and founder of WATER BLOCK and WATER BLOCK Kids. She works to advance racial and environmental justice in the built environment through design, community-driven practices, and planning. Sam and Atianna talk about her work in advocacy, design, and education to ensure an equitable future. Then Atianna leads our interview of Jason Pugh, a licensed architect & certified planner with over 15 years of experience serving both the public & private sector — and he’s the incoming president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). Atianna and Jason discuss NOMA’s mission and his agenda for the year ahead to make diversity and representation in design a priority. Plus, we share our weekly dose of good design.


Weekly Dose of Good Design


Sam Aquillano

Sam Aquillano

Design Museum Everywhere


Atianna J. Cordova

Atianna J. Cordova


Guest Co-host

Jason Pugh

Jason Pugh