In her master's project, architecture student Elizabeth Decker designed a city "that would enable adults with autism to live, work and strive independently". The city has, for instance, autism-related services and a lot of green space for sensory relief. People on the spectrum may have difficulties planning a route, asking for directions and navigating crowded areas.
Decker chose Nashville as her test city because she felt the city had key elements from her inclusive design. She was inspired by her brother Marc who is on the spectrum (Future Horizons, Daily Mail).
“The most important feature for an inclusive city is the connection of autism-related services. It is not enough to view a city from a few city blocks and suggest placing an affordable apartment complex or park, because in order to develop the inclusive city, one has to view the city as a whole network of services.”Recommendations for an accessible city (literally via Daily Mail)
- Affordable housing to enable autistic people to live independently, should be situated near useful services and amenities.
- Health facilities such as gyms should ideally be located near centres offering life skills and other services for autistic people.
- There should be as much green space as possible to provide sensory relief from crowded and noisy areas.
- Vocational training facilities should ideally be located near civic facilities - such as libraries - to make them more accessible and likely to be used.
- Farmers' markets and other shops and restaurants offering healthy food should be distributed throughout a city as severely autistic people can have difficulty making healthy eating choices. Public transport should easily link useful services and amenities so sufferers are not overwhelmed with the task of getting from one place to another.
- A 'corridor of access' should weave throughout a city so that an autistic person can easily travel, without becoming too stressed.
::: DOWNLOAD Decker, E. F. (2014). A City for Marc. An Inclusive Urban Design Approach to Planning for Adults with Autism; 131 pages
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Image via Kansas State University