DISCOVER Our Initiatives

Launching the First National Resource Center and

HQ for the Reparations Movement

MISSION: To establish a resource center dedicated to the principles of reparations, creating a beacon of hope and inspiration for future generations. This community hub will be a vibrant space where individuals unite, empowered by educational opportunities and a shared sense of optimism, to foster a culture of unity and empowerment.

VISION: To create a transformative resource center that encapsulates the spirit of reparations, igniting hope and inspiration for a brighter future. This center will serve as a community hub where individuals converge, elevated by educational enrichment and a collective optimism, to cultivate an environment of unity and empowerment.

CHALLENGE: Faced with the challenges of creating a space that adapts to evolving community needs, maintains financial sustainability, and fosters a strong sense of local identity and belonging, our project adopted a community-centered design approach that has yielded transformative solutions

OPPORTUNITY: Our approach unlocks the potential for a Resource Center that dynamically evolves with the community, fostering cultural engagement and ensuring long-term viability through innovative design and strategic resource use.


Visioning Session

Event Overview: Over 200 activists from 26 states gathered in Evanston, Illinois, marking a significant event dedicated to reparative justice.
Collaborative Session: In a partnership with FirstRepair, Defining Humanity led a standout workshop that transcended traditional discussions, focusing on a hands-on approach to community empowerment.
Interactive Workshop Details: The workshop was highly interactive, featuring activities where participants worked in groups, employing various tools and scaled models to collaboratively design a new resource center.
Visioning Techniques Employed: The session included innovative visioning dot exercises and inclusive voting mechanisms, enabling every attendee to actively participate in the design process and ensuring that community voices were at the heart of the development.
Outcome of Community-Driven Design: The result of this collaborative effort is the blueprint for a resource center envisioned as a vibrant hub that will foster safety, learning, and innovation, truly reflecting the collective spirit and aspirations of the community it aims to serve.

Design Drivers Of The Project

In the heart of collaborative design lies the essence of understanding and responding to the community's needs, a principle that has guided our non-profit architecture firm's latest venture with FirstRepair. This project, a testament to the power of unity and shared goals, aims at creating a Resource Center not just as a building, but as a beacon of community, flexibility, economy, and identity.

Community-Centered Design: The journey began with an immersive visioning session involving the entire community, followed by a series of meetings with key stakeholders. The essence of these discussions was not merely to listen but to understand and integrate the community's voice into every brick laid and every space created. This process crystallized four pivotal project drivers: Community, Flexibility, Economy, and Identity. These principles have not only shaped our approach but also ensured that the design resonates deeply with those it aims to serve.
Flexibility Through a Kit of Parts: At the core of our design philosophy is the concept of a "Kit of Parts" - an innovative approach to furniture and space utilization that champions multipurpose functionality. This adaptable system allows for an array of configurations, from event spaces and exhibit areas to training rooms and collaborative work areas. The idea is to create a fluid space that evolves with the community's needs, enabling the Resource Center to be a dynamic hub for growth, learning, and connection.
Frugal Design & Economic Sustainability:
Understanding the importance of economy in sustainability, our design emphasizes cost-effectiveness without compromising quality or functionality. By employing a "Kit of Parts," we ensure that the resource allocation is optimized, allowing for a broader impact within the available resources. This approach not only addresses the immediate financial considerations but also ensures long-term adaptability and sustainability of the space.
Identity and Belonging: Perhaps the most profound aspect of this project is its focus on identity. The Resource Center is envisioned as a canvas for the community's expressions, a place where local culture, values, and histories are not just displayed but celebrated. Through thoughtful design and the versatile use of spaces, the center aims to foster a sense of belonging and pride among its users, making it a true embodiment of the community's spirit.

A Kit of Parts Approach

In the heart of our community lies a vision for a space that transcends traditional boundaries, embodying the essence of collaboration, celebration, learning, resources, and artistic expression. Our non-profit organization has embarked on an ambitious journey to bring this vision to life through the creation of a dynamic Resource Center. Drawing from insightful visioning sessions with community members, we've identified five core themes that resonate deeply with our collective aspirations: Collaboration, Celebrate, History, Resource, and Art. These themes are not just words; they are the pillars upon which our center will stand.

Flexibility at Its Core: At the heart of our design philosophy lies the "Kit of Parts" approach. This innovative strategy employs 8 tables, 4 art castors, approximately 30 chairs, and 4 lounge seating arrangements, all designed to be easily movable. This flexibility allows the space to be endlessly reconfigured to meet the changing needs of our community. Whether it's a workshop requiring collaborative tables, a celebration needing open spaces, or an art exhibit desiring a unique layout, our center can transform with ease.
Envisioning the Spaces: To bring our vision closer to reality, we've created detailed renderings of five layouts that embody each of our key themes. These visuals not only showcase the versatility of our design but also serve as a beacon of inspiration for what community spaces can become.
Collaboration Space: This layout emphasizes openness, inclusiveness and connectivity. Tables and chairs are arranged to facilitate easy communication and teamwork, fostering an environment where ideas can flourish. The space is bathed in natural light, creating an inviting atmosphere that encourages community members to come together and co-create.
Space to Celebrate: Here, the furniture is arranged to create a central open area, surrounded by seating that encourages interaction and engagement. This layout is perfect for celebrations and gatherings, where the joy of the community can be shared and multiplied.
Space to Learn About History: This configuration focuses on creating an intimate setting where individuals can immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of our community's history. Lounge seating and strategically placed tables offer a comfortable environment for reflection and learning.
Space as Resource: Designed with accessibility in mind, this layout maximizes the use of space to provide a plethora of resources. Tables with integrated technology, bookshelves on art castors, and comfortable seating areas create a multifunctional environment where knowledge and services are readily available.
Space for Art and Creativity: Celebrating the creative spirit, this layout is an ever-changing canvas. Art castors and movable furniture pieces allow for spontaneous art installations, workshops, and exhibitions, making art an accessible and integral part of the community experience.


In Collaboration With:
defining HUMANITY -
Architectural Design and Engineering
Sinage - FastSigns

Under The Patronage Of:
National African-American Reparations Commissions


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