Designing a City for the Deaf


Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., the nation’s leading institution for the deaf and hard of hearing, has published a report outlining what they call DeafSpace Guidelines that help design practitioners understand what to consider when designing spaces to be friendly to people with hearing impairments. Hansel Bauman, director of campus design and planning at Gallaudet, led the effort to create the guidelines. The resulting report describes five factors that impact the way in which people with hearing impairments interact with the built environment; space and proxemics, sensory reach, mobility and proximity, light and color, and acoustics.

More information about deaf space.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.