Dept of Places is a participatory design and community engagement practice based in Los Angeles, CA.
Dept of Places applies the power of design to strengthen neighborhoods so that all residents live in safe, healthy, joyful and just places.
Projects, processes, and services include:
- architectural and design services for installations, renovations and new construction projects
- urban planning and community visioning
- design education and place-based curricula
- workshop facilitation and mindful dialogue
- strategic development and organizational capacity building
All services and processes are community-engaged and rooted in shared decision-making with the people directly impacted by the project.
Dept of Places is founded and directed by Theresa Hyuna Hwang. Theresa is a community-engaged designer, educator, and facilitator. She has spent over 12 years focused on equitable cultural and community development with multiple groups and campaigns. Theresa uses methods of mindful dialogue, interactive arts-based workshops, and design-thinking to think holistically with residents about the social issues that face our neighborhoods.
She was the former Director of Community Design and Planning at the Skid Row Housing Trust, a non-profit permanent supportive housing organization where she was the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow from 2009-2012. Theresa is an adjunct studio professor at Woodbury University.
Her work has been featured in Architectural Record, the New York Times, Atlantic Cities, Al-Jazeera America, Residential Architect, and other media outlets. She is on the Board of Directors for the Association for Community Design and was recognized as one of Next City’s Urban Vanguards 2015. She received her Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design (2007) and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Art History from the Johns Hopkins University (2001). She is a licensed architect in California and is a LEED accredited professional.