Urban Planning for Adults With Autism As the steadily increasing numbers of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder become adults, how can society help them to live independently? One answer is to design cities with their needs in mind, according to an architecture graduate student who created a toolkit, “A City for Marc: An Inclusive Urban ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   July 01, 2014
Urban Planning for Adults With Autism
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Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   July 01, 2014
Urban Planning for Adults With Autism
The ASHA Leader, July 2014, Vol. 19, 10. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB4.19072014.10
The ASHA Leader, July 2014, Vol. 19, 10. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB4.19072014.10
As the steadily increasing numbers of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder become adults, how can society help them to live independently? One answer is to design cities with their needs in mind, according to an architecture graduate student who created a toolkit, “A City for Marc: An Inclusive Urban Design Approach to Planning for Adults With Autism”.
Elizabeth Decker, who graduated in May with a master’s degree in landscape architecture, named the toolkit for her younger brother, who has ASD. The kit incorporates the needs of adults with ASD—identified by the National Institutes of Health as vocational training, life skills, mental and physical health support, employment, public transportation, and affordable housing—in urban planning.
The inclusive urban design knits together public transportation and services with green areas, stores and housing. It explores how future planning and design changes can help connect everything in a way that works and is inclusive of a particular group.
Decker conducted a literature review and interviewed adults—including an adult who is blind, an adult with ASD and an adult with Asperger syndrome—who stressed the urban needs for public transportation, training services and access to health support. Decker used Nashville as a test city for the urban toolkit, but many of her suggestions can apply to other cities. Her designs involve affordable housing locations that connect with a proposed corridor of services and links to healthy food areas. She recommends locating vocational training facilities near civic or institutional programs and preserving and strengthening downtown green space to offer areas for sensory relief from urban conditions.
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July 2014
Volume 19, Issue 7