- In Dialogue with (dis)-Ability    click here to open paper content507 kb
by    Heylighen, Ann & Devlieger, Patrick | ann.heylighen@asro.kuleuven.be   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Addressing the issue of user involvement, the paper considers the significance of diversity in shaping strategic urban projects. It demonstrates how introducing dis-ability in the design & planning process may trigger genuinely innovative solutions.
Through their specific interaction with space, people with certain impairments are able to appreciate spatial qualities or detect misfits that most professional designers or planners are not even aware of. Infusing the design and planning process of strategic urban projects with this unique knowledge-in-action, so it can be argued, may contribute to substantial quality improvement and innovation in the built environment. This holds for sensory disabilities such as blindness, but also for mental disabilities like Alzheimer’s dementia.
In substantiating this argument, the paper describes two projects whereby the dialogue with dis-ability played a key role in the generation of innovative design solutions. The first project is the waving slope at Expo 2000 in Hannover designed by Kamel Louafi. The horizontal part of every wave offers a point to rest. The central galvanised metal strip, bordered by light on both sides at night, offers visually impaired persons a visible and tangible guiding line. In the second project, ‘Glass house for a blind man’ designed by Penezić & Kresimir Rogina, we specifically consider how the dialogue with blind and visually impaired people may lead to consider underused features of material use, in this case of glass in the built environment.
The projects considerably differ in terms of purpose, context and nature. However, both stand out in that they question the basic form and content of the physical fabric from a multi-sensorial perspective, instead of taking the average design as a given and ’adding on’ features to make it more accessible. Moreover, both projects avoid the misconceptions of exclusive approaches by appealing to people with and without dis-abilities, as such doing away with the assumption that responding to the needs of the former tends to reduce the overall design quality.
dis-ablitiy, innovation
click here to open paper content  Click to open the full paper as pdf document
click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper  Click to send an email to the author(s) of this paper