The AAJ University Outreach Committee encourages interested AAJ members to participate in the design charrette with the students on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at Woodbury University. Engaging with the students during the charrette raises awareness among architecture students, our future professionals, to the justice planning and design field. For professionals, it offers an opportunity to provide a fresh perspective to our practice.
Charrette Design Brief:
What common ground do homelessness and justice share? Individuals find themselves homeless for a number of reasons: loss or lack of job, lack of job skills, addiction, mental health, legal status, etc. The reasons for homelessness also serve as risk factors for why individuals end up in the justice system or incarcerated. On the flip side, when an individual is release from incarceration they are more likely to fail, end up homeless, or re-offend if they don’t have the means to support themselves. Many times, individuals lack the skills, education, or work history that employers look for when hiring.
As architects and designers, what role can we play in breaking these cycles and create opportunities for our homeless population? Finding creative solutions requires the skills and cooperation of many groups all working in concert, towards a shared vision. As architects and designers, we can shape the environments the homeless access for assistance – shape the settings so they welcome those seeking assistance, inspire change, integrate into our communities, become a vibrant part of the urban fabric, and serve as a beacon of hope.
Students will envision a service hub, or district, within their neighborhood that assists the homeless population. Not assistance in the form of handouts, but assistance that offers access to shelter, job training, treatment, and resources where the homeless develop assets and skills that sets the stage for meaningful change. Imagine a village within a community where homeless individuals or families live in apartments, the children attend the local Monarch School, and adults in the program work in and run commerce that offers good and services to the entire surrounding community. The adults work to earn money and gain job skills by working in a restaurant, a consignment shop, a gallery, a market, a bakery, or any other number of businesses. Any retail/commerce component serves as a “learning lab” for participants to learn the aspects and responsibilities of running various types of businesses. While learning the day-to-day responsibilities for self-sustaining behaviors, participants gain access to treatment for mental health and addiction issues and/or attend classes provided by a local community college. Imagine the village or district is a thriving hub of activity that draws visitors to a destination and caters to local residents within the community.
If you are interested in participating in the design charrette, please contact Stacey Wiseman, firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
With generous support from