A sense of belonging is an aspect of universal design not often discussed. However, when it comes to including people with autism in plans and designs, it’s a very important element. Ohio State University has developed a guide which covers urban design, retail, parks, campuses and more. It’s got everything in detail. It is underpinned with the six feelings framework:
1. Feel connected – because they are easily reached, entered, and/or lead to destinations.
2. Feel free – because they offer relative autonomy and the desired spectrum of independence.
3. Feel clear – because they make sense and do not confuse.
4. Feel private – because they offer boundaries and provides retreat.
5. Feel safe – because they diminish the risk of being injured.
6. Feel calm – because they mitigate physical sensory issues associated with autism.
The guide is based on extensive research and it is recommended that:
♦ City and regional planners activity accommodates people with autism in their public involvement process.
♦ City and regional planners implement autism standards building on this 1.0 attempt into their zoning and design guidelines, and consider policy changes.
♦ Professionals in affiliated fields who have concern over the public realm test, retest, and improve the ideas in this toolkit.
♦ Civil engineers retrofit infrastructure around the Six Feelings Framework.
♦ Real estate developers who are designing master planned communities consider the Six Feelings Framework in their plans.
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