Objective 2

Gather and analyze input to identify the areas of the Safe House where the team could make physical or organizational contributions

In order to establish which outcomes were most important and how each should be executed, the team sought input from a multitude of people. The liaison and house mother provided a rough list of needs through a series of informative meetings, walks through the yard, and brainstorming sessions. Specific concerns with the current state of the house and yard were explained and the team inquired about how each element got to its damaged state. The team then formed their input through observing, sketching, and imagining in the yard at various times in the day.


The team constructed a paper model to scale of the yard and its current and proposed features.

The yard pre-renovation.

Each element was a different color cardstock rectangle, loose against the scale poster outline of the yard. The team showed the model to the residents and practiced its functionality by modeling the current yard. The team then asked the residents to rearrange the model as they wished, explained that no structure was too hard to move, and introduced the new elements (the crèche, the medical supplies shed, and the social workers office).The women talked through pros and cons of each proposed placement as the team observed. When they came up with a consensus, the team asked why pieces were in each place and then showed the women their collective ideas for placement.


The women’s design for the yard.

The final model that day was a compromise between both proposed designs, and the model stayed at the Safe House along with a bag containing extra cardstock, pens, and scissors over the weekend to allow other residents that were working that day to give input. The following Monday, the team was pleasantly surprised to see a gate drawn in and a barbeque area cut out and added to the mix and a consensus for positioning amongst residents was reached. The design was drawn in AutoCAD and presented to the staff for feedback and input, and revised constantly throughout the project.


The team invited daily feedback and ideas from the residents and staff. For each element of the project, design ideas developed only from this input. For example, the garden relocation was determined by the administration as the crèche they desired was in the place of the current garden. The team sat down with the residents and asked their involvement and interest in the garden. The team asked what they would like to see grown, and established that a smaller area would still fulfill their needs. The residents identified a need for a fence to keep out small children as well as be easily expanded or removed.