Deanna Van Buren: What a world without prisons could look like
Deanna Van Buren is an architect who designs spaces for peacemaking, inside and out. Full bio
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a "justice architect."
and I don't even design courthouses.
better prisons, right?
they're building in Europe."
of things that we're building.
with an early prototype.
sent home from school
because he called me the N-word.
a white community in rural Virginia.
and I would build these little huts.
and blankets I had taken from my mom.
into my refuge,
as soon as I could,
designing shopping centers,
for the first time.
Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania.
of her incarcerated students
the positive power of design.
these tiny little windows,
these cold, hard spaces,
the doors are clanking,
so many black and brown bodies.
that had caused mass incarceration.
building type we could have created
that we're doing to one another.
an alternative to this,
it still doesn't feel good.
didn't know what to do.
about restorative justice.
it is a breach of relationship,
who have been harmed
are really intense dialogues,
to find a way to repair the breach.
restorative justice builds empathy;
by up to 75 percent;
of the most severe violence.
and district attorneys
and into restorative justice
touch the system altogether.
why aren't we designing for this system?"
to amplify restorative justice.
to prison for decades.
probably some of your own --
as an alternative.
this dirty little storage room
for a program in a high school
she was holding in this space
the community together
and gun violence in the community,
started to come here
as a space of refuge.
was amplifying the effects of the process.
that architects always do, y'all.
something massive now, right?
restorative justice center all by myself.
a beautiful figure on the skyline,
instead of going to court.
end mass incarceration
of our citizens per capita
population there are black women.
of all these folks are coming home.
sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
on both sides of the harm.
a restorative justice expert,
the country's first design studios
of restorative justice and design.
in a totally different way.
to their personal transformation
at San Quentin for 27 years
on being accountable for that act
from behind bars.
for a community center
filled with these circular structures
of San Quentin for so long,
the promise of restorative justice.
for restorative justice and healing
over and over again.
these spaces is not enough.
for justice innovators.
in the United States.
to design a peacemaking center?"
I had no backup to these guys.
of Syracuse, New York,
with the community
an old drug house
Peacemaking Project is complete.
over 80 circles a year,
to engage in peacemaking
of those community members.
after a history of family abuse,
in their own family
to do peacemaking.
like going to court.
she kind of looked around,
to the coordinator and said,
made a decision that day
the peacemaking process.
and they're healing.
I didn't go into a thing
centers in every community.
in Santa Rita Jail in California,
designers, Doug, said,
getting back on my feet, healing --
when I get home,
returning to their communities
a year after their release.
your basic economic needs,
for job training and entrepreneurship.
the country’s first center
and restorative economics.
and turn it into three things.
in the restaurant industry
a criminal record or not.
we have bright, open, airy spaces
of activist organizations
of "Healthcare Not Handcuffs,"
dedicated space for restorative justice,
texture and spaces of refuge
in just two months.
New York and New Orleans.
we can build instead of prisons.
30 restorative justice centers.
is a really heavy lift.
in the communities that I was serving
to gun violence and mass incarceration.
and keep them out of the system.
we could build villages on wheels.
constellation of resources
in the greater San Francisco area,
social services and pop-up shops.
with the community,
into classrooms on wheels
education across turf lines.
of more students with this.
in the middle of the night,
and it pops up every single week,
communities as it goes.
and restorative economics
I have a list a mile long.
transitioning out of foster care.
to reunite with their children.
for survivors of violence.
that address the root causes
is a jail or a prison.
Cornel West says
looks like in public."
I ask you one more time
that we could build instead.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERDeanna Van Buren - Activist, architect, artist
Deanna Van Buren is an architect who designs spaces for peacemaking, inside and out.
Why you should listen
After practicing as a corporate architect for 12 years, Deanna Van Buren left her job to become an activist architect, and for the past six years she has been designing restorative justice centers instead of prisons in order to end the age of mass incarceration. She's the co-founder and design director of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, based in Oakland, California. She's also interested in designing virtual spaces for peacemaking and was the lead architect for The Witness.
Deanna Van Buren | Speaker | TED.com