Living a “decent life” depends on whether you have the capabilities to have a decent life. This is the proposition of Nobel prize-winning economist and philosopher, Amartya Sen. Doing the things we value, having freedoms and pursuing our goals are all part of having a decent life according to Sen (2009). But lack of money and freedom, and barriers to participation limit that capability. Being unable to live a decent life impacts on socialisation, mental health and general wellbeing. In their article Housing design for socialisation and wellbeing, Lai and Rios discuss direct and indirect factors in housing design that relate to mental health. They have produced a toolkit, Happy Homes: A toolkit for building sociability through multi-family housing design as a result of their research. The authors drew inspiration from the North Vancouver Active Design Guidelines for their toolkit. They have distilled their research into 10 key principles that relate more to the location and design of the neighbourhood rather than the home itself:
- Doing things together: Provide spaces that increase opportunities for residents to interact and do enjoyable things together.
- Exposure: Define private, semi-private, and public spaces to enhance residents’ sense of privacy and control over their exposure to others.
- Tenure: Enhance design and policy measures that will allow residents to remain in their community, as social connections and trust are reinforced over time.
- Social group size: Social group size affects the quality of social interactions and relationships – use of private, semi-private, and public spaces, as well as the clustering of homes into groups.
- Feeling of safety: Environments that feel safe encourage people to build positive relationships with each other.
- Participation: Residents participating in the design and management of their living environment allow for social interaction and increased sense of belonging.
- Walkability: Neighborhoods with mixed-used spaces that encourage walking increase social interaction.
- Nature: Exposure to green spaces and residents participating in the care of green spaces promotes social wellbeing.
- Comfort: Pleasant and comfortable environments encourage people to socialize with each other.
- Culture and values: Places that reflect people’s identity, culture, and values enhances their attachment to places and increases their sense of belonging.
A team at Deakin University are conducting a survey on universal design. Below is an introduction and the link will take you to the necessary long ethics document with a button at the bottom of the page that will then take you to the survey. The title of the study is, Evaluating Universal Design in the Built Environment.
“We are seeking input from individuals with an interest in or experience of applying &/or evaluating Universal Design in built environments. This research aims to identify approaches currently used to evaluate how Universal Design is applied to the built environment. Findings have the potential to increase uptake of Universal Design by industry professionals, governments and community members, and to enhance social participation for everyone, particularly people with disabilities.
The survey typically takes 10-15 minutes to complete. If you would like to take part in the survey, please click here.
The survey closes 31st August, 2017. If you have any questions contact Valerie Watchorn, Principal Researcher at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +61 3 5227 8069.
Part of Care and Design: Bodies, Buildings, Cities, is now available on ResearchGate. The introductory chapter by Rob Imrie and Kim Kullman (editors) provides much food for thought. They suggest that care is a notion that should be considered from a societal perspective, not an activity in a separate environment. Hence designers, among others, are potential carers in the broader sense. Imrie and Kullman are interested in the intersection of design and care and “the ways in which the skills and sensibilities of caring can be expressed through design practice in order to enhance the conviviality and wellbeing among those who inhabit, and depend upon, cities.” The editors also discuss what makes good urban form, and how “urban objects and spaces are not necessarily sensitised to the diverse needs of bodies and collectives, thereby creating misfits that limit the caring potential of everyday environments.”
The book is published by Wiley, but the chapters can be accessed via ResearchGate. Understanding the notion of care from this broader perspective is another way of understanding universal design. It shows how universal design is an attitudinal concept and more than just resolving inclusion issues in the design process.
- Designing with care and caring with design. Rob Imrie and Kim Kullman
- Age-inclusive design: a challenge for kitchen living. Sheila Peace
- Curating space, choreographing care: the efficacy of the everyday. Daryl Martin
- ‘I don’t care about places’: the whereabouts of design in mental health care. Ola Söderström
- The sensory city: autism, design and care. Joyce Davidson and Victoria L. Henderson
- Configuring the caring city: ownership, healing, openness. Charlotte Bates, Rob Imrie, and Kim Kullman
- ‘Looking after things’: caring for sites of trauma in post-earthquake Christchurch, New Zealand. Jacky Bowring
- Empathy, design and care – intention, knowledge and intuition: the example of Alvar Aalto. Juhani Pallasmaa
- Architecture, place and the ‘care-full’ design of everyday life. Jos Boys
- Ageing, Care and the Practice of Urban Curating. Sophie Handler
- Caring through design: En torno a la silla and the ‘joint problem-making’ of technical aids. Tomás Sánchez Criado and Israel Rodriguez-Giralt
- Design and the art of care: engaging the more than human and less than inhuman. Michael Schillmeier
- Afterword: caring urban futures. Charlotte Bates and Kim Kullman
This book is practice-orientated and covers many fields of design.The overview of this publication states, “This book focuses on a range of topics in design, such as universal design, design for all, digital inclusion, universal usability, and accessibility of technologies independently of people’s age, economic situation, education, geographic location, culture and language. … Based on the AHFE 2016 International Conference on Design for Inclusion, held on July 27-31, 2016, in Walt Disney World®, Florida, USA, this book discusses new design technologies, highlighting various requirements of individuals within a community. Thanks to its multidisciplinary approach, the book represents a useful resource for readers with different kinds of backgrounds and provides them with a timely, practice-oriented guide to design for inclusion.” You can download the promotional flyer or go to the link allows you to download the Table of Contents.