Making New York safer, one waiting room at a time...

Sometimes we forget that our work as architects has, in addition to aesthetic impact, a direct social impact. When we design for those who rarely get any design attention, the results can be measurable, immediate and game changing.

The Brooklyn Resource Hub opened yesterday, and along with all the thanks and boosterism, there was the reassuring anecdotal evidence that better design makes NYC safer.

Here is what the people who really know said yesterday:

The first time I stepped into this room was 1989…I never forgot that first impression of this waiting room. The room sent a clear message…’probation doesn’t care about clients’ and if probation doesn’t care about clients, why should clients care about probation?

Our new Resource Hub makes a different impression, and it’s also making a difference in the work that we do here.
-Karen Armstrong, Assistant Commissioner Kings Adult Services

You can see the difference…before the Resource Hub, it seemed like half of the clients were asleep, and the other half were on their phones…there’s no question that the general mood is much more upbeat.

Clients are using the computers, they’re watching TV, and they’re reading books. And they’re getting up and talking to the community based providers. This isn’t only good for the clients, it is also good for us…clients are in a much better mood when they come back and see us. They are also more informed which means we can have a smoother and productive conversation about their goals are and what their needs are to reach their goals.
-Pamela Phillips, Probation Officer

This space…is really about letting our clients know that probation’s not something to be waited out, a mindless chore to be accomplished. This room makes it clear that a big part of our job is providing clients with opportunities and hope and we expect them to take advantage of it.
-Commissioner Schiraldi


Design won’t change everything about the Probation system, but it can announce that people actually matter, and that they deserve better. The rest is up to the Department of Probation, but we are enormously proud that our work may make their work a little bit easier.