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The Aesthetics of Equity

Notes on Race, Space, Architecture, and Music

2007
Author:

Craig L. Wilkins

The Aesthetics of Equity

A provocative examination of how and why African Americans have been excluded from the study and practice of architecture.

Architecture is often thought to be a diary of a society, filled with symbolic representations of specific cultural moments. However, as Craig L. Wilkins observes, that diary includes far too few narratives of the diverse cultures in U.S. society. In The Aesthetics of Equity, Wilkins states that the discipline of architecture has a resistance to African Americans at every level.

An inspired free-form of research, rhetoric, and rap-like phrasings, The Aesthetics of Equity deftly exposes one of the most distasteful and seldom-discussed inequities in modern America: the architectural community is mostly white and goes through great pains to insure it remains so. If a change is to come, let this book be the first shot in the coming revolution.

Lee Bey, Chicago writer, critic and architecture professor

Architecture is often thought to be a diary of a society, filled with symbolic representations of specific cultural moments. However, as Craig L. Wilkins observes, that diary includes far too few narratives of the diverse cultures in U.S. society. Wilkins states that the discipline of architecture has a resistance to African Americans at every level, from the startlingly small number of architecture students to the paltry number of registered architects in the United States today.

Working to understand how ideologies are formed, transmitted, and embedded in the built environment, Wilkins deconstructs how the marginalization of African Americans is authorized within the field of architecture. He then outlines how activist forms of expression shape and sustain communities, fashioning an architectural theory around the site of environmental conflict constructed by hip-hop culture.

Wilkins places his concerns in a historical context, and also offers practical solutions to address them. In doing so, he reveals new possibilities for an architecture that acknowledges its current shortcomings and replies to the needs of multicultural constituencies.

The Aesthetics of Equity

Craig L. Wilkins, a registered architect, teaches architecture and urban planning at the University of Michigan.

The Aesthetics of Equity

An inspired free-form of research, rhetoric, and rap-like phrasings, The Aesthetics of Equity deftly exposes one of the most distasteful and seldom-discussed inequities in modern America: the architectural community is mostly white and goes through great pains to insure it remains so. If a change is to come, let this book be the first shot in the coming revolution.

Lee Bey, Chicago writer, critic and architecture professor