Equitable Development Frameworks: An introduction and comparison for architects

Exploring architecture's opportunity in advancing equitable communities


Image above: a sample page of the Equitable Development Frameworks that highlights the key differences in the five frameworks being compared.

Architects and designers are increasingly called upon to address the world's most pressing challenges, from the climate crisis to rising inequity and inequality. This is a daunting task, but it is an opportunity to reimagine the relevance, possibilities, and boundaries of the profession. As outlined in AIA's Framework for Design Excellence, "Every Project can be used as a platform for addressing big problems and providing creative solutions."

In the face of this opportunity, architects can leverage existing equitable development frameworks to guide their role in creating and promoting healthy, vibrant, and sustainable communities. AIA analyzes five of these systems in the Equitable development framework: An introduction and comparison for architects to identify the agency architects and designers have in driving valuable change. This report intends to:

  • equip architects and designers with tools to develop a deeper understanding of equitable development
  • equip architects' and designers' role in shaping equity in their work through equitable development frameworks
  • consider a wide range of equitable development approaches differing in intersectionality, depth, structure, and relevance
  • provide project examples to demonstrate the potential impacts each equitable development framework can establish

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