Join Woodbury School of Architecture in San Diego for an exhibit of student work for the Academy of Architecture for Justice Conference. The Academy of Architecture for Justice (AAJ) promotes and fosters the exchange of information and knowledge between members, professional organizations, and the public for high-quality planning, design, and delivery of justice architecture.
In recent years, the Academy of Architecture for Justice has gathered to exchange stories and ideas about architecture and social justice, interdisciplinary practice, and most recently, enlightened approaches to mental health and humane treatment of the human beings in the criminal justice system.
In 2019, the AAJ will come together in San Diego to have a conversation about communities. How can architecture be supportive of community initiatives that address long standing social fractures and move us forward, together, as we take on new and increasingly difficult challenges?
Alternatives to detention, innovative specialty courts focused on therapeutic or restorative justice, increased focus on outward facing community services, community policing, and critical community conversations are all reshaping the way we consider the design and impact of justice facilities – at all scales, from national to intensely local in nature.
Law enforcement priorities are too often impacted by a resource-limited environment, in which the competing demands of addiction, homelessness, and mental health crises have made policing more varied and challenging than ever. The education needed to understand these complex problems, goes beyond deep medical and pharmacological knowledge, but also one schooled in the means of de-escalation and the move toward a guardian mindset.
In San Diego, AAJ will meet in the shadows of prototypical sections of a vast physical barrier, inherently a symbol of division and difference. With the wall as a backdrop, AAJ will also consider the unseen borders that often divide communities in highly visible ways.
The most notorious social divides in the country: Delmar Boulevard in St. Louis, 9th Avenue in Louisville, Troost Avenue in Kansas City, and 8 Mile Road in Detroit are all examples of how underserved communities struggle as essential resources are diverted, and where a lack of trust in the justice system has become pervasive. In San Diego, more than 5 million people live together at the border, under very different circumstances. How we, as planners and designers, address these inequalities will have a profound impact on our future, and provide an opportunity for innovation related to social impact that has become an essential component of architectural practice.