Architecture for All – Statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

We created FORT: LA to bring people together through architecture. By celebrating our region’s unique residential legacy, we seek to connect residents with their own neighborhoods, new communities, and each other. 

FORT: LA aspires to make residential treasures a starting point for broader exploration of new cultures and perspectives. We want people to experience not just the architecture, but the food, music, art, and lifestyles of other communities. By fostering greater awareness and understanding of our neighbors, we believe that—at its best—our work can ultimately increase empathy, community involvement, and civic pride. 

Diversity, inclusion, and equity are essential to this vision, particularly in an area as vast and multicultural as L.A. County. We have both the opportunity and the responsibility to reflect a wide range of experiences through our work and the organization itself.

We know we’re not there yet, and we’re taking active steps toward this vision. 

Programs

While FORT: LA certainly celebrates the residential icons for which the region is known, they aren’t the only treasures by far. Greater Los Angeles has endless stories to tell through its homes, and we have been uncovering these stories since our founding.

The first two FORT Fellowships produced new scholarship on postwar Japanese American architects in Los Angeles and historic garden apartments in South Los Angeles. Highlights of this extensive research are now widely available* as free self-guided tours, known as FORT Trails.

As our most accessible offerings, FORT Trails should encompass a broad range of geographic areas, residential themes, and architects. Our trails will continue to diversify with subjects including Paul R. Williams, the first African American member and Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. 

In addition to free online access to all FORT content, we’re seeking new opportunities to make in-person exploring more equitable—for example, by designing trails that are fully accessible by public transportation. 

As remarkable as they are, Greater L.A.’s residential treasures also have deep ties to social inequity. We consider our work an opportunity to highlight these issues through an architectural lens—for example, by discussing the systemic racism inherent in the area’s residential development. 

Leadership

FORT: LA has an outstanding team of directors, advisors, Fellows, Trailblazers, and researchers. Of our entire team, ten percent are people of color and nearly half are women. One of our eight board members is a person of color, and nearly half are women. Half of our board members are LGBTQ. 

We know that inclusive, equitable programming requires more diverse leadership. We commit to increasing the number of people of color on our board of directors, and to bringing more voices into all areas of our work. 

We also expect our leadership to personally uphold the rights and dignity of others, and to speak out when they see injustice. 

We welcome your insight and perspective on these efforts. If you have any questions, suggestions, or other comments, please contact us at info@fortla.org