When the FT splashed a story about a sleazy event at something called the Presidents Club, the rami_ cations for the property industry – a fair few of whom were there – were clear. Change, and change now.
So, with NLA’s stated aim to lift gender parity across architecture, design and property to the fore, we have chosen to highlight the cause in a ‘Diversity Special’ this issue. We must all be sensitive to how diversity is embraced – or should be embraced – for the wider good, across the industry as it should be across society. With the rise of the MeToo campaign, the fallout from Weinstein and BBC pay, the Grid Girls in Formula One and ‘walk on’ girls in darts – and even Oxfam – there are signs of a reaction, fittingly 100 years after some women successfully fought to win the vote. But the professions clearly need to work harder.
Our special feature on diversity looks at the phenomenon as a bona fide improver for the bottom line; at ethnic and gender representation across architecture along with its impact on the economy in new figures released by London Festival of Architecture’s (LFA) Tamsie Thomson; and at the process behind organising the NLA speaker programme, in line with the stance being taken by some including GVA’s Gerry Hughes. Hughes has pledged not to take part in panel discussions unless women are present, as he outlined to NLQ in a profile way back in the autumn of 2016 and re-affirmed at an Inspiring Women event this February. The business case, moreover, was backed in January by McKinsey & Company, which reported that although progress on diversity issues has been slow, the companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21 per cent more likely to experience above-average profitability, rising to 33 per cent when ethnic and cultural diversity came into play. The LFA, meanwhile, has launched a campaign ahead of MIPIM to tackle the ‘elephant in the room’ – property’s poor record in discriminatory behaviour (#seetheelephant).
Elsewhere this issue, New Londoner Digby Flower talks about the changing nature of the property market; Top of their Game practice Maccreanor Lavington discuss their love affair with the city, and brick; and we take a look at Rathbone Square in our Building Review slot. We take a coffee break with Barton Willmore’s Victoria Bullock, and hear about the Westway area in My London from the Westway Trust’s Alex Russell.
And, finally, our cover star and pro_ le this time out, Sherin Aminossehe, shows how a powerful woman in government can be a force for good in property, and continue that drive in the private sector, now as head of offices at Lendlease. The key message is on progressive change to break down barriers to architecture and the related professions at a time when they will need all the talent they can get. Let’s get our houses in order.
David Taylor, Editor