Tuesday, December 3, 2013

#TEDTalkTuesday Chris Downey: Design with the blind in mind

Haven't done a TED Talk Tuesday in a while but I'm back with a good one. Today (December 3rd) is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year's theme is "Break Barriers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all”. I found this great talk that I feel embodies this year's theme perfectly.

Chris Downey is an architect who back in 2008 underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor. Even though the surgery was successful it caused him to become blind. After going through rehabilitation to reorientate himself to his new circumstances he started to compare and contrast life before and after vision loss. 

Being an architect Mr. Downey was very concerned with how things looked but after his vision loss he had to use his other senses in his design approach. He didn't let vision loss stop him but as a guide to inspire him for more inclusive design. Mr. Downey's TED talk focuses on inclusive design when it comes to city-planning.

The following is a quote from Chris Downey:
"So my final takeaway for you is that not only is the city good for the blind, but the city needs us. And I'm so sure of that that I want to propose to you today that the blind be taken as the prototypical city dwellers when imagining new and wonderful cities, and not the people that are thought about after the mold has already been cast. It's too late then. So if you design a city with the blind in mind, you'll have a rich, walkable network of sidewalks with a dense array of options and choices all available at the street level. If you design a city with the blind in mind, sidewalks will be predictable and will be generous. The space between buildings will be well-balanced between people and cars."

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