Integrating behavioral research in undergraduate design studio in architecture for designing inclusive environments
AbstractBehavioral research as a part of design process in undergraduate design studio in architecture can help bridge the gap between the user needs and design decisions and sensitize the students to the concept of accessibility and social inclusion. This paper presents the process and outcome of three academic design projects in which the students employed behavioral research. The design researches at undergraduate level occurred at different times and with different groups of students. The research for the design for the park for the blind used quasi experimental research while the research for the other two design projects viz.; Home for Elderly and Orphanage used case study research employing qualitative strategies of behaviour mapping and in depth interviews with key informants.The findings which emerged certainly provide the evidence for the overarching hypothesis that behavioural research sensitized the students to the concerns of accessibility and social inclusion and accessibility has to be looked from the point of view of both physical as well as social angles to facilitate inclusion. Hence the model of incorporating design research as part of the design studio proves to be a useful one. Developing empathy in the students towards the disabled and towards those who need social inclusion, can facilitate social inclusion through design. The contribution of the paper lies in development of a framework for design research for undergraduate students of architecture for inclusive design.
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