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Garrett Jacobs: Architecture in Pursuit of Justice and Equity

W.M. Keck Hall
October 19, 2022 at 6:00pm

Garrett Jacobs
Director of Evaluation & Research with Designing Justice Designing Spaces and Board President and Advisor with the Open Architecture Collaborative, Oakland, CA

Jacobs’s architectural journey began in post Katrina New Orleans. He has over 15 years of organizing experience from community design build projects, to running an international network of volunteer chapters, and a national network of municipal civic technologists with Code for America. Garrett led the reorganization of the Architecture for Humanity Chapter Network after the organization's closure and served as the founding Executive Director of the Open Architecture Collaborative working to shift the dialogue of community design from volunteerism to addressing systemic racism and oppression. Garrett launched a leadership program called Pathways to Equity which marries professional development and community project field experience. Garrett has filled many roles—from CFO to Directing Advocacy—with Designing Justice Designing Spaces, a non-profit architecture and real estate organization working to end mass incarceration and its root causes.

Garrett will share his journey through the architectural profession in search of authenticity. This reflective talk will discuss architecture, its business practices and potentials during a powerful transitional time. This reflection will be approached through the lens of three different scales: 1) the self and identity, 2) teams and offices, and 3) project development. The goal of this reflection is to keep moving towards equity and justice. Garrett will speak from his personal experience, re-constructing Architecture for Humanity into what would become the Open Architecture Collaborative, creating the Pathways to Equityprogram, and now working in collaboration with Designing Justice Designing Spaces, focusing on building the infrastructure of care to replace jails and the punitive justice system.