Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) is a U.S. based non-profit founded in 1981 dedicated to peace, environmental protection and socially responsible development. ADPSR was first established to promote nuclear disarmament and correct the imbalances caused by military excesses overshadowing domestic needs. Throughout the 1980s, the non-profit initiated numerous peace projects including peace parks, conferences, exhibits, and citizen diplomacy exchange programs with the former Soviet Union. It now counts hundreds of members from across all design professions and remains a constant agitator for a more humane practice of design.
Among its more recent initiatives, ADPSR has been leading the charge to get the American Institute of Architects to adapt ethical rules which would prevent its members from designing spaces intended for execution, torture, solitary confinement or other spaces designed for cruel and inhuman punishment. Their consistent argument is that some of the architectures of our prison industrial complex violate universally accepted standards of what constitutes human rights.
ADPSR has also been a vocal opponent to the border wall proposed by the U.S. Trump Administration. Beyond the worlds of design, ADPSR has advocated directly to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with a simple five-point message:
1. This is a project that kills.
This project will undermine peaceful international relations between the United States and Mexico.
This project will damage the ecology of our border region.
2. This wall will also harm the human communities that seek to live in the border region.
3. This project is completely unnecessary and hugely wasteful.
We had a chance to speak with Raphael Sperry, the President of ADPSR, on Social Design Insights. Together with Deanna Van Buren, Sperry walked us through the complicated issues surrounding designing the prison industrial complex, and shared with us the details of ADPSR’s ongoing advocacy. Listen to the episodes here.