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[Press] Designing Justice + Designing Spaces builds infrastructure to end mass incarceration


This article written on October 30, 2019 by Shane Reiner-Roth discusses the company "Designing Justice + Designing Spaces (DJDS). Co-founded by Deanna Van Buren and Kyle Rawlins, DJDS was established to create spaces for restorative justice, rehabilitation, and community building to provide solutions to the root causes of America’s mass incarceration crisis." BOSS partnered with DJDS to create affordable units for previously incarcerated men.



 

To develop each project, DJDS intimately engages with the communities it intends to service. For a housing facility for youth transitioning out of foster care in Atlanta, for instance, DJDS engaged with the community during a nine-month process that included model-making, visual games, and finance education. In many cases, they learned that the spaces they create should be flexible, reconfigurable, and mobile in order to provide civic resources wherever they may be needed.


DJDS designed their Mobile Refuge Rooms as an efficient, low-cost living solution for those recently released from prison. (Courtesy of DJDS)

DJDS designed their Mobile Refuge Rooms as an efficient, low-cost living solution for those recently released from prison. (Courtesy of DJDS)


In collaboration with Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS), DJDS designed low-cost living units in Alameda County for recently incarcerated men. Each unit is primarily made of durable, inexpensive wood and is equipped with three essential furniture components—a bed, a desk, and storage space—that can be easily reconfigured to meet the personal preferences of its occupants. Sliding doors, folding panels, and built-in amenities are installed as space-efficient design gestures that appear both solid and permanent, despite the fact that the units can all be easily transported.


Formerly incarcerated citizens not only participated in a two-month community engagement process following their design, but were also involved in every step of their fabrication, from initial designs to the finished product.



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