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Autism Design and an Architecture for All: Designing for a Differently Abled World

An estimated 1.5% of the world’s population, approximately 120 million individuals, exist somewhere on the broad spectrum of autism. For far too long this spectrum, despite its diversity and nuance, was viewed as a monolithic, pathologized condition, to be cured or treated, rather than better understood or even celebrated as an identity and an alternative, but equally valid perceptual model of the world around us. This position has since shifted to a more strength based identity first position, and as the peak cohort of individuals first diagnosed when awareness was growing in the early 2000s are now reaching adulthood, self-advocacy has become an important and increasingly heard voice in the community. But architecture must listen. I believe no one has the right to exist more comfortably, safely or effectively in space than anyone else, and it is our responsibility as architects to create the built landscape that affords this comfort, safety and efficacy to everyone- the entire spectrum of the human condition. The small collection of works included here strive to present design pathways to achieving that goal, and hopefully shift that perspective to stretch our understanding of the human condition- to be more inclusive, honest and reflective of the reality of our diverse and rich humanity. #IQDMagazine


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