Whole Practice Sustainability

The goal of Jones Architecture’s Whole Practice Sustainability initiative is to expand our practice to encompass the full scope of factors that lead to a sustainable world.

That means reaching beyond environmental and accessibility practices to include strategies that lead to social and economic justice, equity and inclusion.

From the day we opened our doors in 2010, Jones has embraced practices that focus on preserving, protecting and renewing natural systems and resources. The approach is intrinsic to our work; no project begins without consideration of its environmental effects. But creating a sustainable future entails far more than green building.

The modern concept of sustainability is defined as meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs; as such, it embodies three interconnected pillars: ecological, social and economic health and stability. But what of these latter two? This is the work in progress at Jones.

What we know: that as people who are paid to solve problems, the more diversity we have in the room, the better; that as humans who share the planet with all sorts of other humans – and non-humans – the more we can contribute to the health and wellbeing of all, the better. And that as professionals who want to feed our families and strengthen our communities, the more equity our work fosters, the better. Our success will increase prosperity, longevity, and resilience – for staff, clients, partners, the projects we touch, and the people whose lives are touched by those projects.

Whole Practice Sustainability aims to examine how each strand of sustainability can be woven into a powerful thread that runs through our daily work. Toward that end, we are exploring our beliefs and biases, understanding what we’re already doing right, learning about best practices surrounding justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, identifying improvement areas and implementing steps toward the day at Jones Architecture when the idea of sustainability is so intrinsic to the work, there’s no need to talk about it at all. Here’s where we are today:

Multiple awards and speaking engagements recognizing our expertise in green building and accessibility.

Established a DEI Council whose mission is to drive inclusion in our office and outside it.

Assembled a racially and gender-diverse team: more than half of us are women; more than a quarter are non-white.

Continue to diversify the Jones team to ensure that our perspective includes a range of life experiences spanning multiple cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and identities, especially from groups that have traditionally been excluded from the architectural profession.

Engaged a leadership training consultant through 2022-23 for a one-year project to educate staff and examine firm practices related to employment and advancement, strategic planning, and organizing our team around inclusionary policies.

Established an equitable staff support and mentoring policy, recognizing that each person has different circumstances and needs, and therefore people need different resources and opportunities allocated to them to thrive.

Created systems of support, dialogue, and advocacy that are strengthened by our differences as well as our similarities.

Set a goal to provide at least two leadership opportunities for non-white, non-male people in the coming year.

Committed to broaching client sustainability conversations at project onset that include DEI. For example, at Massasoit Community College we have teamed with a small M/WBE architect to give us a more fulsome understanding of the population that MCC serves. With this partner, we are engaging the campus DEI team to establish processes that ensure planning and design meet the needs of the student body.

We are a small office of creative people enriched by both our differences and our similarities. As a group, we are committed to the following principles of conduct:

  • Be willing to broaden your horizons
  • Hold courageous conversations
  • Lead with respect and curiosity
  • Get comfortable with being uncomfortable