Mayer/Reed has promoted landscape architect Shannon Simms to Associate in recognition of her extraordinary professional and design leadership. A leader in active transportation and urban design, she is currently managing the landscape architecture discipline on the Urban Design Team for TriMet’s Southwest Corridor Light Rail that extends from Portland to Tualatin, OR. Shannon has also led the team’s efforts to establish the transportation mode and alignment of the Marquam Hill Connector, a key component of the Southwest Corridor project. Recent experience includes concepts and urban design for the Green Loop and the multi-modal portions of Better Naito in Portland, landscape design for the recently opened Concourse E extension at Portland International Airport, and trail components of the Ebey Waterfront Trail along the Qwuloolt Estuary in Marysville, WA.
The power of these words only scratches the surface of the pain and disturbing injustices that Black communities have endured for centuries. We must address the many complicated and layered challenges to erode systemic racism in our society.
As designers of the built environment, we acknowledge our responsibility to serve the community through equitable and inclusive design. We must do better to ensure that Black and other marginalized people have the access and respect they deserve.
Mayer/Reed has paused our outward messaging in the month of June to make an action plan for the work we must do internally to become allies and effective agents of change. We do not have the answers; yet we are committed to an evolving process and long term effort. In a gesture of transparency, we offer an outline of the first steps we are taking:
• Establish an internal diversity, equity and inclusion advocacy committee to support learning to identify and address implicit bias and systemic racism in design and the design process. Our committee will begin by creating a multi-faceted action plan for this essential work.
• Invest in diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-oppression training for all employees and leadership.
• Examine our human resources procedures and create an action plan to increase equitable practices in our studio and opportunities for marginalized people.
• Evaluate our pro bono, sponsorship and donation commitments to better support organizations that are committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.
• Perform post-occupancy case studies of select Mayer/Reed projects to learn from the successes and inadequacies of past work and processes.
• Strengthen our internal and external commitment to educational, internship and mentor programs that strive to eliminate barriers facing people of color in their career pursuits in landscape architecture, interior design and experiential graphic design.
• As stewards of natural and urban environments, redouble our commitment to designing spaces that foster inclusion and equal access to health, safety and well-being.
World Landscape Architecture Month is an international celebration in April showcasing the ways that life grows in the spaces landscape architects create.
We remain committed to our clients and business continuity as we work remotely. We are focused on delivering services with the dependability and quality that you’ve come to expect from Mayer/Reed while we protect the health of our community.