Task Force: Design Accessible Spaces
Your local mall has hired you to redesign its architecture to be more accessible for people with special needs. Your goal is to consider what options are currently available, and to build on them to increase accessibility.
Why Are We Doing This?
People have been trying to raise awareness about the need to redesign traditional spaces to accommodate people with special needs for years. People have also questioned the effectiveness of “accessibility” in examples such as large malls only providing one restroom that is wheelchair accessible. Here, we ask you to redefine designing accessible spaces for people with special needs beyond current endeavors and standards.
- Before you begin, read about designing accessible spaces for people with special needs. Research current redesigns that aim to make spaces more accessible and look for areas that can be reformed.
- Then, try to come up with a plan for your local mall to make the space increasingly accessible. Assume your mall has ONE wheelchair accessible restroom and ONE elevator that is available for all visitors.
- Have you visited an area where there was more attention given to design the space to be more accessible?
- What needed to be reformed?
- What will you redesign at your mall to make it more accessible (think outside the box here)?
- What kinds of special needs are not commonly accounted for? How will you make spaces more accessible for people with those special needs?
- Think through the possible objections about your plan that someone might have.
- Are you leaving out something important that hasn’t been addressed?
- Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your plan increases accessibility to people with different special needs and considers areas that have not been commonly brought under question.
Things to Keep in Mind:
- You do not have to come up with an exhaustive list of guidelines for your plan. Focus on a few you are prepared to defend.
- Try to brainstorm beyond what is presented to you (i.e. how would you make loud spaces accessible for people with sensitivity to sound?)