Designing an Architecture of Labour Affirmation, Harm Reduction and Community Development for Vancouver's Sex Worker Population
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Within the current political, social, and legal landscape of Canada, sex workers face a considerable number of barriers to labour recognition that would afford them labour rights, dignity, and safety. The refusal to accept this labour as legitimate work augments the precarity of sex work; when it is treated as inherently criminogenic and exploitative, it is pushed into sociospatial zones that breed crime and exploitation in a cycle that reinforces the “common sense” knowledge that is responsible for marginalizing this community. One critical factor in this reproduction of precarity is the nonexistence of a place of indoor sex work created with the input of sex workers. How can rethinking the architectural design process to emphasize the expert knowledge of sex workers create a new commercial typology of adult entertainment that prioritizes health, safety, and dignity for sex workers? Sex workers themselves have speculated about a new typology of commercial sex workplaces for decades but have lacked the cooperation with a designer who could feasibly produce this as an architectural project through drawings, models, and renderings. My work uses a participatory methodology to generate architectural design as a diagram for “sex industry best practice” knowledge to provided context for, and disseminate, information that exists within expert communities but has not become mainstream due to the social and political challenges sex workers face today.
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Emilie O'Neill (2022). Designing an Architecture of Labour Affirmation, Harm Reduction and Community Development for Vancouver's Sex Worker Population. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/18651