Autocase – in partnership with Quinn Evans, Stantec, HOK, Jacobs, and the AIA LFRT – has announced the release of a free online environmental justice tool to help support more equitable decisions in the built environment. The steering committee was made up of industry sustainability leaders, as well as members of the NAACP’s Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector (CESBS) and the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). Karin Neubauer, AIA, FIWEL AMB., Associate was the Quinn Evans champion on the steering committee to help guide the vision and provide feedback for development.
Karin offered insight to bring existing building conditions to the forefront and emphasized the need to consider the historical context of neighborhoods. “My primary takeaway was that there is a wealth of resources, many of which I had not been exposed to,” says Neubauer. “The Building EJ Tool promotes access for everyone involved on project teams—from designers to community members. We know that thoughtful design can have a measurable long-term impact on communities. Having quick, user-friendly ways to access data helps us discuss the unique needs of any given community early in the design, gives partners, designers, and community members a common language/starting point for discussing health and wellness, and connects stakeholders to relevant data and resources.”
The EJ Tool provides design teams with the data, resources, and frameworks to identify pressing issues and document a project's journey to more equitable design. It also enables local community leaders, environmental justice experts, and community-based organizations to actively connect, engage, and partner on projects, and provides stakeholders with more transparency on projects within their community.
The Building EJ tool has four key modules:
- Project Tool → The Project Tool provides a localized data dashboard and interactive toolkit to identify the needs of the community, assess your project’s progress, and document your team's actions – allowing design teams to integrate EJ into all their projects.
- Find People module → A public-facing directory of EJ practitioners and community development advocates, allowing design teams to engage them on projects as local experts.
- Find Projects module → Users of the Project Tool can make their project public, allowing local community advocates, EJ practitioners, and community-based organizations to 1) gain transparency into projects in their area; and 2) actively reach out to project teams to be engaged as a beneficial partner.
- Resources Hub → The Resources Hub provides other relevant tools, data sources, guides, and frameworks that design teams or community advocates can use.
Quinn Evans is a national leader in preservation architecture and sustainable stewardship. The development of the Building EJ Tool highlights our leadership and commitment to providing sustainable and equitable solutions to communities through our project designs. We are dedicated to delivering measurable and lasting impact to places where people live, work, and play. Additionally, it prioritizes the importance of building equitable project teams for better design solutions which is a primary goal of Quinn Evans’ design philosophy.
Access the free Building EJ Tool here.