Our Anti-Racism Commitment

We stand with those whose rights are suppressed and whose voices are marginalized. And we grieve with those whose lives are threatened every day because of the colour of their skin. We can be part of developing a positive future and are optimistic that it can and will be brighter, if actions are taken to help it get there. 

At the heart of PWL Partnership’s values, we assert that we are social and environmental advocates. This means that we not only design space, but we advocate for the right of all people to be in that space. We aspire to create meaningful places for all, and to find ways to amplify less heard voices. But, we know that we are not there yet. We are working on it: participation over the last two years in the Living Futures Institute’s JUST program revealed unconscious biases, and we made change within our organization, updating hiring policies and establishing criteria for equity and inclusion. However, systemic racism and brutality against people of colour has hit a tipping point, and it is clear and vital that we push further, faster.  

We recognize that landscape architecture as a profession has played an indisputable part in forming the social fabric of cities.As such, our industry has been complicit in reiterating systemic racism in our dominant culture. As members within this profession, and as individuals, we recognize that we must do better. Everyday practice needs to be examined and adapted in order to create a safe and just environment for Black people, Indigenous people and People of colour within the profession of landscape architecture and in all spaces where we apply our expertise. We are using our privilege to pursue anti-racist actions outlined below.

Internal Actions: At a senior level, we will hold ourselves accountable to the statements we make, and adhere to our actions plans, continuing the dialogue surrounding racism within our office and industry. Office-wide, internal roundtable sessions to inform and educate on how to be actively anti-racist in projects work and in everyday life, and on our role as landscape designer/architects/planners will recur throughout the year; working groups are beginning to meet regularly, focusing on short- and long-term, continuous commitment both inside the office and out in the field. With respectful exchange in a safe and open forum, we aim to grow our understanding in order to change behaviours, which will ultimately benefit the work we produce as social and environmental advocates. Together, we will practice anti-racist allyship—and have the difficult conversations—whenever they arise. 

External Actions: Externally, we commit as an office to hiring subject-matter experts, and learning and instituting strategies to adapt our approach and design with increased awareness of spatial issues in landscape and planning that adversely affect Black people, Indigenous people and people of colour. We will begin to support racialized communities: Skills sharing partnerships, community building, and capacity-building within marginalized communities will be PWL Partnership’s focus.  

For us, initiatives are in their beginning stages to increase awareness and dialogue surrounding the many forms racism takes. By reflecting on our own actions and effects of our work, we will learn to effectively practice allyship with Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour, so that together, we can re-envision and plan culturally robust, sustainable places that affirm and welcome all.