Our commitment to inclusive excellence

architecture + education, Beth Tauke among children.

The School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo is committed to becoming a leader in equity, inclusion and diversity within both the university and architecture, planning and real estate development educational communities.

Fostering a culture of inclusion in our learning environments is essential for educating students who will work and live in an increasingly diverse culture. Broadening the diversity of those who study, teach, research, and practice architecture and planning ensures that a wider variety of diverse needs will be met through these professions. 

Guiding our efforts is a task force on equity, inclusion, and diversity composed of faculty, staff, and students, currently chaired by Samina Raja, professor of urban planning and associate dean for research and inclusive excellence. The school also has a strategic plan that explicitly makes inclusion and equity part of our mission and a key goal. As a result, we have begun instituting training workshops addressing issues of exclusion and inequities. Mandatory workshops on sexual harassment and now racial equity are provided for faculty and staff. 

Strategic action: cultivating equity, inclusion and diversity

The School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo is committed to fostering inclusion, equity, and justice within our school, and within the fields of the architecture, urban planning and real estate development. Read our strategic plan

Recent News

Readings on race and social justice

Articles and books on race and justice in urban planning and the built environment are available online via UB's Architecture and Planning Library.

Research on equity, inclusion and diversity

Injustices and inequities in society – economic, social, political and cultural – are intricately related to historic legacies and current practices in how we plan, design and build communities. Consider that a lack of access to fresh produce and healthful foods in Black communities contributes to chronic illness and health inequities. Historically discriminatory planning practices such as racially restricted zoning have left a legacy of spatialized patterns of disinvestment, poverty and economic inequity. Design practices in buildings and public spaces can create physical and cultural openings – or exclusions – for traditionally marginalized groups to participate in the social, economic and political fabric of society. Urban planning, architecture and real estate development – through research, teaching and practice – are uniquely positioned to “see” and eliminate these place-based injustices. Our research and scholarship is also prepared to critically examine the very roots and limits of our disciplines.

At UB's School of Architecture and Planning, faculty and students work across disciplines and with community partners to break down barriers to equity and social justice. Our nationally-ranked research centers and faculty are developing solutions for more equitable food systems from Buffalo, N.Y., to Kerala, India; advancing the health and wellbeing of marginalized and vulnerable populations around the world, from refugees to women and children living in poverty; exploring historical "whiteness" that permeates our building disciplines; setting international standards for inclusive design practices; driving new investment in low-income communities in Buffalo through community-engaged economic development planning; and developing adaptive design and planning solutions for populations experiencing the disproportionate impacts of climate change.

Research centers with a particular focus on equity and inclusion

Programs and activities

Our goals in inclusive excellence extend from our efforts to recruit a diverse student body - and therefore enhance diversity in our professions - and to reinforce the success of students in underrepresented and traditionally marginalized groups through a culture of inclusion and equity. Several programs and initiatives at the school advance these goals. 

UB Chapter of the National Organization for Minority Architecture Students: The mission of ubNOMAS is to champion diversity within the design professions by promoting the excellence, community engagement, and professional development of its members. 

African American Students of Architecture and Planning: In fall 2019, a network of African American students and students of African descent in the School of Architecture and Planning formed the African American Students of Architecture and Planning to facilitate engagement of underrepresented students with minority communities in the City of Buffalo. Read more

Architecture + Education: Sponsored by the Buffalo Architecture Foundation, the Architecture + Education program pairs graduate architecture students and practicing architects in the community with public school teachers to infuse architecture into the curriculum.