Design tool for dementia-friendly public buildings

A basic floor plan showing a meeting room, toilets, reception and lobby area. An interactive tool for dementia friendly public buildings.The online tool for Dementia Enabling Environments has a section on dementia friendly public buildings. It’s an interactive design tool. So clicking on a room in the floor plan brings up a 3D view of the room. Hovering the mouse over question marks in the room brings up more detailed information about design ideas that are good for people with dementia. Of course, these designs are usable for almost anyone else who is ambulatory, including people with other cognitive conditions.

This is an excellent resource that takes accessibility beyond the access codes which don’t cover this level of design. The Dementia Enabling Environments tool also covers homes, care settings, and gardens and nature. There are links to other resources as well.

Cognition and inclusive design

Practitioners and researchers are seeking more solutions for people with sensory and cognitive impairments, particularly dementia. But our building standards are silent on this growing issue. Time to think about cognition from an inclusive design perspective.

The value of designing an age-friendly environment is discussed in an article by Hadjri, Afacan, and Gadakari. As with all universal design features, the authors argue inclusion needs to be embedded in the early stages of design. See the abstract below for more on the content.

Front cover of the bookIt is good to see the topic nestling between chapters on passive design and energy efficiency. The chapter “Inclusive Design” unexpectedly appears in ZEMCH: Toward the Delivery of Zero Energy Mass Custom Homes, and is available from SpringerLink and ResearchGate.

You will need institutional access for a free read, otherwise purchase the chapter. You can also try ResearchGate to ask for a free read. 

From the abstract

This chapter will explain and discuss the principles, role and importance of Inclusive Design particularly in the context of an ageing society. It will review the changing and complex user needs and requirements through case studies and current work of leading organizations.

Current standards do not take account of cognitive needs and more needs to be done by policy makers. Findings of recent research on users’ needs and requirements will be reviewed and Inclusive Design will be examined to assess the use of technology in embedding accessibility during the design stage.

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