Despite the widespread emphasis on creating accessible public spaces, the current design guidelines focus overwhelmingly on people with physical disabilities. Here, Janet Lowe, Head of Marketing UK & Ireland at Forbo Flooring Systems, discusses the need for a more neurodiverse design approach.
Neurodiversity is the word used to describe the infinite diversity of the human brain and mind. With one in eight people estimated to be neurodivergent (i.e. having a neurology that is not typical) the importance of considering neurodiversity within the built environment is abundantly clear, enabling spaces to be inclusive for all users.
The term refers to people with a wide range of sensory or neurological conditions such as autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and dementia. Neurodivergent people simply have a difference in the way their brain operates, which means certain environments can present them with challenges. Public spaces such as libraries, leisure centres, schools and hospitals can be overwhelming and confusing places for neurodivergent people, yet by carefully considering their needs it is possible to improve the quality of life for these individual people and create spaces that allow them to flourish.
Despite the broad range of neurodiversity, representing a significant percentage of the UK’s society and workforce, the current code of practice for the design of buildings (BS 8300) focuses predominantly on physical impairments only. Therefore, there is a clear gap in publicly available guidance for built environment design that is truly inclusive.
Everyone should have the opportunity to thrive, which means designing spaces that improve the experience for all users. To assist specifiers and designers working towards this, we’ve created a whitepaper that examines the need for evidence-based guidelines for designing for the mind, with a particular focus on how the correct flooring specification can help.
For more information and to download a copy of Forbo’s Design for the Mind Whitepaper click here.
The header image shows Forbo’s Allura Wood luxury vinyl tile flooring installed at The Catalyst.