Alice Peultier

April 27th, 2021

Planning for Justice Newsletter: April 2021


Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Alice Peultier

April 27th, 2021

Planning for Justice Newsletter: April 2021


Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Some monthly readings from our library on

Perspectives on racial inequalities in the property and construction sectors

This month we explore some readings on racial inequalities and discrimination in the property and construction sectors

Accessible Articles

Lucy Alderson (2020), “Enough is enough: property’s problem with institutional racism”, Estates Gazette: Link

This article presents the results of the 2020 Estates Gazette Race Diversity Survey and is supplemented by a one-hour podcast about racism in property. It demonstrates institutional and systemic racism in the real estate and property industries, painting a stark picture of the numerous obstacles professionals from BAME backgrounds still face in these sectors: more than 67% of BAME professionals express having already experienced racism in their workplace. 77.6% of all respondents believed that the industry was not genuinely trying to increase the inclusion of BAME professionals in the field. Stressing the urgency of the situation, the author calls for concrete policies and positive actions in the property sector to effect positive change.

Harpriya Chaggar  (2020), “Confronting ‘Race’ In The Built Environment Profession”, BAME in Property: Link

In this Blog Post from BAME in Property, Harpriya Chaggar (BAME in Property member) presents the findings from her master’s thesis in Urban Design and City Planning, addressing the following question: “how structural racism denies planning objectives in improving the livelihood of BIPoC communities?” Her study questions the functioning of the industry from unequal hiring and promotion systems to their consequences in terms of policies. She argues that under-representation in the industry leads to a lower quality built environment, causing cases of environmental racism that is often times labelled as “environmental injustice”. To her, this illustrates the discomfort associated with “race” and inability for leaders to admit that “injustice” often refers to “structural racism”.


Lindiwe Rennert (2020) “Black Women in Planning: Where Are We?”, Progressing Planning: Link

Scaling down the analysis to housing design, architect Marion Roberts’ book is the first to thoroughly examine the relationship between gender and housing design. Her study focuses on state housing in Britain in the decade following the Second World War, exploring the assumptions underpinning policy makers and designers’ design choices. Some of the key findings include how housing form was designed for a nuclear family presumably “headed” by male breadwinner, or how new housing was mainly provided next to jobs destined at skilled male employees. Marion Roberts highlights how housing policies in post-war Britain were strongly influenced by a gendered vision of the family and division of labour, leading to a reproduction of those inequalities onto the newly built environment.


Academic Articles

Victoria Opara, Ruth Sealy, Michelle K. Ryan (2020). “The workplace experiences of BAME professional women: Understanding experiences at the intersection”, Gender Work Organisation, vol.27, 1192-1213: Link

Bridging a research gap in discrimination and workplace equality literature about BAME women professionals, the authors adopt an intersectional approach to better understand complex workplace experiences which cannot be reduced to a one-sided analytical framework. The authors stress the importance of considering the interplays and intersections of minority ethnicity, gender and nationality to understand the specific barriers BAME women in Britain face in the workplace. To them, intersectional research should be a topic in itself in the organisation study field. The authors call for more research embracing the complexity of identities.


Reports and management books on racism and discrimination in the construction and property sectors

Amanda Clack, Judith Gabler (2019). “Managing Diversity and Inclusion in the Real Estate Sector”, London: Routledge.

With their recently published book on diversity and inclusion in real estate and construction, RICS chartered Clack and Gabler offer a practical guide for organisations to make a positive change in the industry. Destined to “property leaders and professionals working in the real estate and construction sectors”, the book defines key concepts around equality and diversity, gives an account of the state of racial, gender, and other inequalities in the industry, and lays out principles to build a more inclusive workplace. Lastly, it details how can organisations apply those principles to effectively bring about positive change in the construction and real estate industry.

Katherine Sang, Abigail Powell (2012). “Equality, diversity, inclusion and work-life balance in construction”, in Human Resource Management in Construction – Critical Perspectives, eds. Andrew Dainty, Martin Loosemore,163-196, London: Routledge.

The chapter begins with the bitter observation that despite some initiatives carried out in the industry over the past 20 years, the construction sector remains predominantly white, male, and able-bodied. Sand and Powell make the case for equality, diversity and inclusion in the construction industry on both ethical and business grounds, arguing that not only fighting for those principles is a matter of social justice, but also of business efficiency. After providing an overview of the situation of racial and gender inequalities in the sector, notably mobilising the concept work life balance, the authors delve into the structural and cultural factors which have led to the perpetuation of these inequalities. Lastly, they issue some recommendations to address racism and sexism, touching upon recruitment methods, equality impact assessments, and the collection of data on employees’ diversity.

Andrew Caplan, Amir Aujla, Shelagh Prosser, June Jackson (2009). “Race Discrimination in the Construction Industry: A Thematic Review”, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Equality Research and Consulting Ltd.

This report was published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Great Britain’s national body promoting equality across England, Scotland and Wales. It reviews the existing literature on discrimination in the construction industry in Great Britain, looking at structural racial inequalities. It concludes that the industry is not doing enough to levy the barriers which professionals from BAME background face, highlighting a low of awareness from the sector on systemic inequalities and racism, persistent racism in the industry, and a lack of equal opportunities policies. The report also stresses the need to carry further research on practical strategies to address discrimination in the workplace, as well as changes in the recruitment methods.


Read Planning for Justice March Newsletter HERE



About the author

Alice Peultier

Alice is a master’s graduate in the Urban Policy Dual Degree programme between LSE (RUPS) and Sciences Po Paris (Urban and Territorial Strategies). She is particularly interested in gender and environmental justice, exploring how a gender-aware approach to urban resilience planning can contribute to build more inclusive cities. She holds a bachelor’s from Sciences Po Paris and studied one year abroad at UBC, Vancouver. She recently joined a consultancy in Paris working on urban developement strategies for local authorities and private actors.

Posted In: Planning for Justice

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