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I’m passionate about the theme of Health in Urban Design,

and would like to take the opportunity to thank you, Laura, for a fascinating post ‘Designing our Neighbourhoods to Promote Health and Well-being‘.

The built environment,

at all scales, from buildings to whole cities, affects the quality of life, Health and Well-being (Elizabeth, B., et al; 2006). It has been proven by a huge number of scientific studies, that built environment has a very strong impact on people’s emotions, on their consciousness and behavior (Natalia, B. ; 2006). In addition, we as Urban Designers are trying to create comfortable environment for people, according to their needs, we have not to forget about people with special needs, too. Because the urban environment, in my opinion, has to be accessible for all. I think, that we have to do everything what we are able to do to help people with special needs to remain independent by giving due thought and attention to them. These are people with visual and hearing impairment and also those with mobility problems. And when we start collecting ideas to make a new design for an urban public space, we have to remember about the special needs and requirements since the very early stages of work on a project.

As it was mentioned above,

I am very interested in that theme, so I would like to tell about my research connected with trying to create that kind of environment, that I have made during my professional life.

My graduation project

was called ‘Rehabilitation Centre for Children with Hearing Impairment’. The centre is situated on an abandoned camp site in Zelenodolsky district of the Republic of Tatarstan and is fully supported by the government and local authorities as a focal point for patients with hearing impairment and as a potential employer providing jobs to local people. The rehabilitation centre (the place, where people would stay much longer, than, for example, in theatre), the goal was to create an environment, which would be comfortable for a variety of social groups, who would spend shorter or longer periods of time here. I also had to account for different localisation of the groups depending on the season – more closed in winter and more opened in summer – and the proximity of the railway, the forest, the river Volga and the access road to the centre.

Here are my sketches of floor plans,

made during the work on a diploma project. During my diploma project I have made a deep research in purpose to understand the way of using the properties and the geometry of a shape in order to achieve the needed functional orientation of space by creating a certain emotional state.

In my project

each type of a room, where I had to make a special mood for children’s action and interaction, meets all the requirements of the most suitable geometric shapes of the space. I have tried to create optimal social and psychological conditions for children, using that knowledge. I have created clear spatial connections between all the rooms and have also added color and light accents.

While working on the shape and colour of the facades

of the Rehabilitation Centre, I have tried to avoid the monotony and dullness of the shapes and tried to make that building unique and inimitable.

 
I have also paid attention

to the theme of Health and Well-being during our work on the project of Newcaste Helix site, that took place in Semester 1:

It is very important

to create urban environment which is acessible, cozy and comfortable for each person, in my opinion. And we have to pay a lot of attention to equal opportunities to the specific requirements of groups like disabled people. And one of the key challenges is to make such kind of environment, where these people would be able to participate in society. That requires something what is a lot more sensitized to their individual needs, revolving around a celebration, not a castigation, of their differences (Rob I. ; 1996). As Health and Well-being are one of the most important things to provide people with while creating comfortable design and development of urban areas, neighbourhoods, streets and housing for people.


References:

  1. Elizabeth Burton, Lynne Mitchell, 2006. Inclusive Urban Design: Streets For Life.
  2. Burdina Natalia Alexandrovna, 2004. Aspects of the mental impact of the geometry of the form of the interior space on human activity.
  3. Professor Rob F Imrie, Rob Imrie Robert, 1996. Disability and the City: International Perspectives.

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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