Inclusion & Access Educational Series
June 4-7th, 2019 People Lab presented a 3-part in-house educational series to kick off our Inclusion & Access initiative. The series served as an introduction to Universal Design, described the social model versus the medical model of Disability, and shared the specific needs and design strategies to accommodate both the Deaf/HoH as well as the Autistic and Neurodivergent communities. This series initiated a conversation reaching across Disabled communities, and demonstrates that while different Disabled communities’ needs may be different, the design solutions are often incredibly similar.
Introduction to Disability & the Built Environment
The Inclusion & Access Educational Series kicked off with a lecture by Dr. Victor Pineda - founder and president of WorldENABLED and Chancellor's Research Fellow and adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Pineda’s lecture asked what can we do as landscape architects and planners to design more accessible public places, to better include stakeholders with disabilities in the design process, and to understand how public policy can deeply influence Universal Design.
Dr. Pineda also works for the Cities for All project which networks the global disability community in local and international decision-making processes guiding urban planning and development. The Cities for All Network’s strategic planning and engagements are directly influencing urban development processes through the Global Compact and Campaign which advocates for and promotes the Universal Inclusion and Accessibility of all people in cities and settlements.
Design for Autism and Neurodivergence: Shaping the Sensory Landscape
The following lecture, presented by People Lab member Danielle Toronyi, focused on designing for those with diverse neurocognitive abilities and developmental disorders, building off of her work as featured in Cities & Health “Hidden Geographies: Design for Neurodivergent Ways of Hearing and Sensing”. Her presentation Design for Autism and Neurodivergence: Shaping the Sensory Landscape introduced designers to the Autistic and Neurodivergent community/ies, clarified prevalent misinformation and misrepresentations in the media, and described the community's specific spatial and sensory needs.
She then shared existing design principles and guidelines relating to this topic which, within landscape architecture and architecture, are overwhelmingly centered in private treatment, educational, or residential sites for Autistic children. Very few research projects have approached how to design public space to include Autistic adults. Danielle shared commonalities across the current state of design research, and used those as a framework to review two of OLIN’s projects that illustrated successful design strategies for Autistic or otherwise Neurodivergent people.
Related: See Danielle’s paper “Hidden Geographies: Design for Neurodivergent Ways of Hearing and Sensing” in Cities & Health
DeafScape: Applying DeafSpace to Landscape
Alexa Vaughn’s lecture on DeafScape: Applying DeafSpace to Landscape reflected her passion for Universal Design, particularly for her newfound Deaf community - which stems from an article she wrote for GroundUp Journal (Issue 07) in 2018 - as well as a studio project she completed during her final year at the University of California, Berkeley, which applies DeafSpace principles to the landscape.
In applying DeafSpace to landscape, Alexa created DeafScape, a guide for landscape designers, architects, and planners to follow in order to create more accessible urban landscapes. The Deaf community has a diverse array of needs dependent upon the visual and tactile senses - which require a thorough understanding of spatial requirements and use. Alexa discussed the diversity of the Deaf community, as well as DeafSpace guidelines, so that designers can begin to design more accessible landscapes for Deaf/HoH folks and beyond.
Related: see Alexa’s paper “DeafScape: Applying DeafSpace to Landscape” in Ground Up: Journal from the Department of Landscape Architecture and Planning UC Berkeley
DeafSpace Discussion Panel
We invited two of Alexa’s former colleagues, Derrick Behm, planner and former instructor at Gallaudet University and Sean Maiwald, public policy expert and adjunct professor at Gallaudet University, to join us for a discussion panel after the DeafScape presentation. Derrick and Sean shared their experiences and work with/in DeafSpace, and at Gallaudet University, and discussed how the Deaf / HoH communities can build agency through inclusive design.
Both the DeafScape lecture and discussion panel were ASL interpreted.
About our Presenters:
Derrick Behm @DerrickBehm recently graduated with an MPS in Urban and Regional Planning at Georgetown University, focusing on housing, community and economic development. He has special interest in researching how the Deaf community can build agency through inclusive planning processes. Previously, he worked at Gallaudet University @GallaudetU Office of Campus Design and Planning as a project coordinator and taught the DeafSpace Methodologies course. Through his experience and work, Derrick believes that the “accessibility” framework needs to continue evolving, rethinking how people connect within places.
Sean Maiwald @seanmaiwald has many hats - entrepreneur, consultant, public policy expert, and DeafSpace evangelist. He graduated from The George Washington University with a Masters of Public Policy. He is one of the founders of reFort / @reFortLLC, a sustainable start up, and Catalyst+, a consulting firm that specializes in DeafSpace and Design Thinking. Sean is also an adjunct at Gallaudet University @GallaudetU, and works full-time for the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes, based at the University of Texas, Austin. Sean believes that creating spaces and places for people - as well as the process of - can be empowered through thoughtful public policy and research.
Dr. Victor Pineda @victorpineda @smartcities4all - founder and president of WorldENABLED and Chancellor's Research Fellow and adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley is a leading global expert on disability rights, policy, planning and design and has worked closely with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, World Bank, United Nations, UNESCO, UNICEF, and cabinet level officials in several countries to develop policies and programs that include persons with disabilities as equal stakeholders in development. He has been granted numerous accolades and fellowships for his work in global public accessibility policy, and received his PhD from UCLA’s Luskin School for Public Affairs.