Universal design approach to analysis of physical environment for users with multiple sclerosis
AbstractThe concept of Universal Design aims for the utilization of every product and environment for every individual without the need for further adaptation. The frequent occurrence of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in societies has necessitated a more innovative and exploratory approach to the field of design. Many of the products and built environments encountered by individuals with MS in their daily lives fall short in terms of meeting safety and accessibility needs. It is essential to establish the correct design approach so that users with MS can meet their needs easily and safely without depending on others. In this research, the problems encountered by users with MS in their residences were evaluated within the framework of Universal Design principles, and design recommendations were stated using a sample case in Turkey. Throughout the study, accessibility challenges, mobility, fatigue and balance problems, vision and lighting conditions, climatization and noise sensitivity, and psychological issues were primarily considered. The residence of the sample user with MS was examined in detail, and an in-depth interview was conducted during the research. The difficulties and life routines of the user with MS were observed and identified. Home design solutions associated with Universal Design principles were represented so that the users with MS have safe and accessible housing regarding their physiological and psychological conditions. The highlighted proposals may contribute to architectural design to make modifications for comfortable and safe housing in related cases having similar symptoms with MS. Future research can benefit from these findings and proposals to provide innovative approaches, develop policies, and conduct interdisciplinary studies on related design issues.
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