It’s been such an exciting year for Palama Settlement and yet there is so much more in the works for 2022! One of the highlights of our year came at the tail end as a group of University of Hawai‘i Architecture students presented their final group projects aimed at helping Palama Settlement improve its campus, accessibility, and public access for the entire community to enjoy.
The idea for this class project was initiated by Michael Bennett, former NFL star and humanitarian, along with Jasper Wong, founder and lead director of POW! WOW!. The two friends were discussing the lack of public facilities for the youth and elderly in the Kalihi/Palama area. They really wanted to help build a community gathering place in the area and felt Palama Settlement would be a great location. Since neither of the two are architects, Jasper Wong reached out to a good friend, Bundit Kanisthakhon, who is both an architect and professor.
Under the direction of Professor Kanisthakhon, his class Arch 490 explored the idea of inclusive design to help make our environment usable and friendly for everyone. The mission was to integrate the programmatic needs of Palama Settlement with design generated in this class to achieve safe, convenient, and appealing environments without barriers for people from the community. It will also help foster the awareness of both natural and built environments not only within the Palama Settlement campus but also the neighboring areas. Students were encouraged to identify problematic areas and to come up with empathetic design solutions. They were also encouraged to explore various ways to enhance the sense of community through creative design approaches with arts and architecture. The long-term goal is to implement some of these ideas into Palama Settlement’s campus in the near future.
Mahalo to Jasper Wong, Michael Bennett, and Bundit Kanisthakhon for your creative thinking and compassion in these first steps to making Palama Settlement more accessible to everyone in the community!