Buses, Bridges, & the Justice System

#19 A few social media posts and a thought provoking article.

From the Curator 😎💻

Yo, What's up! Joseph here

It’s been some time, about 3 weeks now that I haven’t put out a newsletter? I’m sorry but I hope you’ll forgive me! Anyways, we are back, I’m doing great, and hot chocolate and coffee is running through my veins as I type! I’m a huge Christmas holiday person and I’m just excited that it’s actually getting cold here in Texas! Well that’s enough, back to the good stuff.

If you enjoyed this issue of Life of a Designer, consider buying me a coffee to show your support!👇

From the Socials 📲

I think everyone has sat or walk passed a bus stop before. The experience isn’t always that great but sometimes there are some pretty cool ones! Check these out below. Show me a cooler bus stop, I’m waiting!

This one goes out to all of my “generative design” friends and followers. Thoughts?? 🤔💭

Article of the Week 📚

The AIA updates its code of ethics, prohibits members from designing torture or execution chambers

Some how this week's newsletter has gotten pretty ethical.. Which obviously isn't a bad thing!

So the AIA has updated their stance on architects designing torture, execution, or isolation chambers.. Sounds like a huge blow to those who actually make a profit off sending MANY wrongfully convicted people to prison and sentencing them to death...

Now I know that this can be a touchy subject (not sure why..) but these are my opinions. If you don't agree with them then let's have a dialogue in the comments below!

I think what the AIA has done is a great step moving forward for architects and designers. Are they always making great steps forward? No but that's okay because this kind of make sup for it. In the justice system, the act of putting someone on death row and then following through with it has been pretty common in the US for quit some time.. Here is a little history lesson from the Death Penalty Information Center.

Britain influenced America’s use of the death penalty more than any other country. When European settlers came to the new world, they brought the practice of capital punishment. The first recorded execution in the new colonies was that of Captain George Kendall in the Jamestown colony of Virginia in 1608. Kendall was executed for being a spy for Spain. In 1612, Virginia Governor Sir Thomas Dale enacted the Divine, Moral and Martial Laws, which provided the death penalty for even minor offenses such as stealing grapes, killing chickens, and trading with Indians.

Wow, pretty interesting huh.. and after this insane year of civil unrest and people standing up for one another, it's not a total surprise that the AIA is doubling down on their commitment to design an equitable and just built world that dismantles racial injustice and upholds human rights. Why do you think it's an important time to be talking about this? Because of the following stats found on the DPIC website...

On December 10th and 11th, Bernard and Bourgeois were the sixteenth and seventeenth prisoners executed in the United States in 2020. The US is on track to capping 2020 as the deadliest federal death penalty year since the 1890s. The most executions during any transition period is five, in 1884-1885, during the transition between Chester A. Arthur and Cleveland’s first presidency. The Trump administration has performed three executions since former Vice President Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the November presidential election and has scheduled three more transition-period executions for January 11–15, 2021, the week before President-elect Biden’s inauguration. This in fact bumping President Trump to #1 on the list of most executions during any transition period. Way to go Trump...

The AIA goes on to state,

Specifically, AIA members are required to uphold the health, safety and welfare of the public. Spaces for execution, torture and prolonged solitary confinement contradict those values. This decision emphasizes AIA’s commitment to making a difference on this issue and upholding human rights for our society.

To be honest with you, throughout this year I was questioning my role in architecture when it came to my stance as a person of color within the field of architecture. I was unsure how we as architecture could make a change in this climate, how can a building be racist or prejudice towards a certain group of people? Yes, the access to certain buildings and the function of those buildings after it's designed can take on those actions but at the time of the design, how do we design better architecture with truly every race, gender, ethnicity, political view, etc. in mind? Well as a step forward, it makes sense to pull the reins and stop designing these places all together.

To clarify, "the new code of ethics amendment doesn’t prevent or ask members to not design prisons, jails, or other places of incarceration, only that they not design spaces intended for prolonged solitary confinement (which the AIA defines as housing a prisoner for at least 22 hours a day with no outside contact)." This doesn't solve all of our problems but it does take a step forward.


That's all for this week, follow me on Twitter & Instagram 📲

I'll be back next week, same time, same place! 💪🏽