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Read.Watch.Listen. Environmental Justice in the AEC Industry

July 2023 Issue

A monthly forum to share diversity, equity, and inclusion resources.

Welcome to the next installment of Read.Watch.Listen. Last month, we highlighted the relationship between structural engineering and embodied carbon in the construction industry. This month, we want to continue the conversation about sustainability and discuss the importance of Environmental Justice in the AEC Industry. Climate change is an environmental justice issue, as noted in this article from the Columbia Climate School. As structural engineers, we have the ability and the responsibility to consider the environmental impact of our designs in order to help protect our communities and our planet. Social justice is an important component of both DEI conversations and sustainable practices, and the following resources outline relationships between justice, equity, and sustainability.

Image from ENR

If you are interested in learning even more about this topic, we also recommend the article - If You Are Serious About Sustainability, Social Equity Can’t Be Just Another Add-On and the ASCE video - DEI Best Practices: Sustainability.

Read.Watch.Listen is a monthly forum hosted by the NCSEA SE3 Committee to share and promote conversations on diversity, equity and inclusion within the structural engineering profession. Each month, we will curate a series of articles, audio-visual and digital media to facilitate self-education in matters that affect our professional practice as structural engineers. Whether you choose to read, watch, or listen (or all three!), we hope you will join us in this important conversation. Missed the previous issue? Check out the NCSEA SE3 Committee News and Publication page.

Share your thoughts and/or recommended resources for the next issue at


Equity in Architecture: It's Part of Sustainability - AIA KnowledgeNet

In this piece, Elizabeth Rupp del Monte discusses the relationship between climate change and the need to provide an equitable society for all, recognizing that currently underserved populations will only fall further behind if environmental equity is not addressed. She highlights the importance of making sure underrepresented populations have a seat at the table as the industry tackles environmental justice.


Deb Niemeier: Pioneering Civil Engineering as Social Justice - The Franklin Institute

In the 1990’s Deb Niemeier, a civil engineer and professor at U.C. Davis, launched one of the largest studies on emissions in U.S. history. The results told a story of cities divided by socioeconomic status, showing that low income areas were disproportionately plagued by poor air quality and health issues. Today, her research continues to influence federal policy on emissions.


Chandra Robinson on Design for Access and Equity - Design the Future Podcast

This podcast interviews Chandra Robinson, a principal at LEVER Architecture in Portland, Oregon. The focus of the interview is the story of one of her projects, the Meyer Memorial Trust HQ. The project had a strong focus on equity, inclusion, and sustainability, and Chandra hopes that this project story will inspire other designers to include one or two components that improve access and equity on future projects. Additional information about the project can be found at the building’s website. The interview begins at 00:06:57, and if you are short on time, the project story is shared from 00:19:35 - 00:34:45.


This article was originally published in the July 2023 issue of NCSEA's Structural Connection newsletter. For more information, check out NCSEA's DEI Resources.

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