Research Mentor(s): Irene Hwang, Assistant Chair, Architecture + Lecturer in Architecture
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Architecture, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 5 (3pm-3:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 9
Media has a large impact on the functioning of society, dictating common norms, procedures, and ways of living. However, often overlooked is the impact that media has on the built environment. With such a large influence over communities, architecture can be swayed by the same social components that divide people, especially diversity. In order to examine the media’s impact on diversity in architecture, I examined the racial makeup and family structure makeup, (whether or not the family is a nuclear family, has disabilities, a same-sex couple, single-parent households), of HGTV shows. In order to do this, I watched the first and last available seasons of the shows, and cataloged the race and makeup of each family featured in each episode, as well as of the hosts. From this data, I calculated the percentage of POC and non-nuclear families featured in the shows within the seasons and compared the percentages calculated from the first season to the last season to track the progression in racial diversity. After watching the shows, I found that there was a decrease in racial diversity and an increase in non-nuclear family compositions overall from the first to last seasons of the chosen shows. These findings continue to highlight the lack of diversity and representation of different family groups in HGTV. Therefore, the media’s influence on the built environment disproportionately represents a white, nuclear family, rather than the diverse makeup of the communities featured on the shows.