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Buildings that can heal in the wake of trauma

By Zach Mortice

10 Apr 2023 · 8 min read

Editor's Note

Trauma-informed design is a new architectural movement whereby buildings become “the first line of therapy”, aiming to ease the mental and physical toll from past harm. Bloomberg reports.

The generous windows that line walls of this new apartment building in Aurora, Colorado, do more than just flood its hallways and bedrooms in sunlight: They’re part of a suite of design decisions that reflect the unique needs of its residents. Providence at the Heights, or PATH, is a supportive housing facility operated by the prison re-entry nonprofit Second Chance Center; the three-year-old building is filled with apartments for people who have been previously incarcerated.

“Many of us have been in places where you might have a window that’s four inches wide and four feet tall,” says Second Chance founder Hassan Latif, referring to the narrow window dimensions architects use in jails as a security strategy. “At PATH, we have what we call big-ass windows.”

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