Peace by Design: Architecture and Design as a Peacebuilding Practice (690)

Barb Toews and Deanna van Buren

The work of peacebuilding occurs in a variety of spaces – mediation, negotiation, and training rooms, NGO and government offices, detention and correctional facilities, shelters and refugee camps, homes and even outside. Whether it is the layout of breakout rooms, access to nature, or the cultural significance of objects in the room, the design and architecture of spaces have the potential to serve as positive or negative visual representations of peace and justice and facilitate or hinder peacebuilding work.

Examine the theoretical perspectives and processes of peace and justice work and their relationship to theories and processes of design/architecture, including:

  • Sociopolitical messages conveyed in the design and architecture of buildings and other spaces;
  • Influence of design on individual well-being, behavior, and interpersonal and societal relationships;
  • Culturally-respectful design; and
  • Financial and material restrictions.

The course includes a design lab in which students will learn practical design skills that can be applied to their own work. At the end of the course, participants will have a greater understanding of the influence of design and architecture on peacebuilding processes and outcomes and be able to apply peacebuilding theories, processes, and values to the institutions and environments where they work and live.