A pioneering residential community for women and their children

An innovative project for charity, One Small Thing (opens new window), located in Southampton. It is a progressive pilot project that supports a healing trauma service for women caught up in the justice system that applies trauma informed design. But what is trauma informed design and how is that seen and evidenced at Hope Street?

Trauma informed design starts with recognising that all buildings have an effect on people and communicate all the time. They communicate what is considered important, how people should be treated, who is in power, how you should behave and if people can be trusted, amongst many other things. What is particularly significant with trauma informed design is that those who have suffered trauma are more susceptible to picking up on these cues and will have triggers that take them back to past traumas. It is known that distress turns off the prefrontal cortex in the brain preventing critical thinking and rationality. This keeps people in survival mode reducing concentration and their ability to engage with healing from past traumas. How we design buildings that better serve these users has been our goal at Hope Street.