Twelve years ago while teaching in California, Dr. Jill Pable, now a professor for the Department of Interior Architecture and Design at Florida State, became involved in a project in Sacramento working with a homeless shelter. She became aware of the need for thoughtful design that helps people in crisis, specifically people experiencing homelessness. That spark turned into a passion to offer her design skills where they are most needed. Working with experts in homelessness, design practitioners, and researchers, among others, Dr. Pable has since developed the non-profit organization Design Resources for Homelessness and has engaged with homeless shelter and supportive housing projects nation-wide and in Europe.
Current work centers on two locations in the United Kingdom. Dr. Pable is currently working on a case study based on a supportive housing project in Southampton while MFA Candidate Lindsey Slater is reviewing an existing, unbuilt proposal for a new supportive housing project in Winchester, UK. The goal is to provide recommendations intended to enhance self-identity and dignity by attending to both the psychological and physical needs of residents and staff. Once finished, this Southampton study will be a free resource for the public through the Design Resources for Homelessness web site.
Dr. Pable encourages designers with these words, “Designing for the “other 90%” of the population that does not typically benefit from thoughtful environments is tremendously gratifying, full of potential, and is a terrific way for our profession to fulfill its unwritten compact with our public. Whether it’s pro bono work, or working fulltime with a support agency, we have not yet begun to unpack and appreciate the full capability of built environment to contribute to fully activated human experience. The possibilities are great.”