ARC 211: American Diversity and Design

In 1937, African American flood victims lined up to get food and clothing at Red Cross relief station in front of billboard ironically extolling “World’s highest standard of living. There’s no way like the American way”.  Credit.

The connections between diversity and design are more relevant today than ever before. Understanding these concepts, their histories, and their relationships is an essential part of a twenty-first century education. 

To that end, the American Diversity and Design course focuses on the relationship of design to the changing nature of our society in the U.S. It examines the history and diversity of cultural experiences and their attendant design issues. Specifically, the course concentrates on the ways in which our designed physical and media environments affect various populations in the U.S. and, in turn, the ways these populations have affected our designed environments. It introduces students to eight issues of diversity: race, ethnicity, gender, class, age, physical characteristics, cognitive characteristics, and religion. Writings, films, products, graphics, electronic media, buildings and environments by and about diverse individuals and groups are examined. The histories of our diverse physical and media environments are analyzed using theories and principles related to inclusive design.

American Diversity and Design is an online course that meets the UB Curriculum Diversity Requirement and the SUNY American History Requirement.


Associate Professor - Department of Architecture - Hayes Hall 216 - (716) 829-5892