[Our guest blogger today is Jessica Simonovis. She has a J.D. from Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas, Venezuela; and an M.A. in Applied Criminology from Middlesex University in the U.K. She has experience working in three countries, evaluating various projects and strategies. She and her husband currently reside in Englewood, Colorado.]
The Urban Peace Lab (UPL) is a Research Center oriented to reduce crime by applying the arts, a place for innovative designs that could serve as a crime deterrent. It also includes non-profit organizations focused in teaching practical knowledge about the arts and other creative means. Moreover, it serves as a resource to complete school credits as well as to become a productive member of our society.
Design Against Crime is a historical and current successful reference for this project. This London-based center promotes an approach to social innovation emerged at Central Saint Martins (CSM), University of the Arts London between 1999-2009. (http://www.designagainstcrime.com/)
Another reference for a similar idea is Design Out Crime, an initiative to inject the city of Los Angeles with Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design techniques to reduce crime. (http://www.lapdonline.org/crime_prevention/content_basic_view/8852 )
UPL is looking forward to partner up with the Art Institute of Denver, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, or any other art program. By doing so, the center will benefit with the student’s innovative ideas to, as well as reaching out to the Denver community by offering educational services and programs designed to nourish all the student body and institute, independently of their art major.
The university/program will benefit by promoting a variety of options for internship programs. It will be also a great opportunity to actively raise awareness about situational prevention and provide an alternative approach to repression or standard reactive law enforcement policies.
We strive to help the public by providing a variety of resources, skills, and experiences when students and experts will successfully create designs, shifting the strong dependency to law enforcement and the judicial system to daily preventive practices.
Implementing designs that are fit for purpose and contextually appropriate brings a new range of supporters as it is an excellent space for the students to complete their practical training as artists. I believe the Urban Peace Lab strengthens the bond between the art community and local residents, considering how imperative it is nowadays that developed nations can count on research institutes to address the many challenges their communities face.
- You can contact Jessica at JessicaSimonovis@gmail.com