Next Article in Journal
Effect of Disinfectants on Preventing the Cross-Contamination of Pathogens in Fresh Produce Washing Water
Next Article in Special Issue
Integration in the Vocational World: How Does It Affect Quality of Life and Subjective Well-Being of Young Adults with ASD
Previous Article in Journal
Effect of Temperature on Fimbrial Gene Expression and Adherence of Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli
Previous Article in Special Issue
Working with Policy and Regulatory Factors to Implement Universal Design in the Built Environment: The Australian Experience
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 8644-8657; doi:10.3390/ijerph120808644

Experience of Multisensory Environments in Public Space among People with Visual Impairment

Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Professions, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 8 May 2015 / Revised: 11 June 2015 / Accepted: 17 July 2015 / Published: 23 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Therapies and Human Well-Being)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [656 KB, uploaded 23 July 2015]

Abstract

This qualitative study explored the role of sensory characteristics embedded in the built environment and whether they support or hinder people with visual impairment in their use of public spaces. An online survey link was e-mailed to the presidents and committee members of each state’s chapters and associations of the National Federation of the Blind in the United States, resulting in 451 direct invitations to participate. Written responses of the survey questions from 48 respondents with visual impairment were analyzed. Three main themes: Barriers, Supporters, and Context-Dependence emerged from the respondents’ experience of multisensory characteristics within the built environment. The four subthemes subsumed in Barriers were: (1) Population specific design, (2) Extreme sensory backgrounds, (3) Uneven ground surfaces and objects, and (4) Inconsistent lighting. For Supporters, respondents provided specific examples of various sensory characteristics in built environments, including audible cues and echoes, smells, tactile quality of the ground surface, and temperature. Context-Dependence referred to the effects of sensory characteristics embedded in public spaces depending on one’s vision condition, the proximity to the sensory cues and the purpose of the activities one was performing at that moment. Findings provide occupational therapy practitioners an in-depth understanding of the transactional relationship between embedded sensory characteristics in the built environment, occupations, and people with visual impairment in order to make appropriate modifications or removal of barriers that affect occupational performance and engagement. Suggestions for occupational therapists as well as architects, designers, planners, policy makers/legislators related to functional sensory cues in the design of built environments were provided to increase accessibility in the use of public spaces by people with visual impairment. View Full-Text
Keywords: built environment; public spaces; sensory cues; architectural accessibility; qualitative research built environment; public spaces; sensory cues; architectural accessibility; qualitative research
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Jenkins, G.R.; Yuen, H.K.; Vogtle, L.K. Experience of Multisensory Environments in Public Space among People with Visual Impairment. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 8644-8657.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top