Graduate to research design solutions to help blind and partially sighted find their way
3 August 2009
Dominy Bird, 020 7070 6772, firstname.lastname@example.org
Royal College of Art industrial design engineering graduate Ross Atkin has been selected as the first Helen Hamlyn-CABE Space research associate.
Sight line: designing better navigation for public spaces is funded jointly by CABE and the Royal College of Art (RCA) Helen Hamlyn Centre. The aim of the year’s programme is to investigate new product design solutions that address the problems faced by blind and partially sighted people navigating urban streets and public spaces.
The recent trend towards decluttering streets has seen the removal of signs, railings and, in some cases, kerbs. Spaces with the traditional demarcations and rules removed have reduced traffic speeds and accident numbers, but can impact on the ability of blind and partially sighted people to independently navigate these spaces. Blister paving, the most common product design solution on our streets, is now over twenty years old. It can also cause problems for pedestrians with mobility issues and the elderly. CABE and the RCA Helen Hamlyn Centre are keen to explore the development of possible alternatives that work for all street users.
Sarah Gaventa, director of CABE Space said:
‘The research post is an exciting opportunity to investigate innovative practical product design solutions, inspired by the needs of blind and partially sighted people. We’re looking forward to supporting Ross with his research to explore new ideas that really work.’
Rama Gheerawo, programme leader of the Helen Hamlyn Research Associates programme, said:
‘The research associates programme has led to some truly inspired ideas over the past ten years. Ross has practical experience as a designer on streetscape projects such as White City, Grosvenor Square and Hereford Town Centre and excellent research skills. I’m looking forward to working with him and other organisations who share an interest in this area.’
Notes to editors
- The RCA Helen Hamlyn Research Associates Programme will run from October 2009 to October 2010. Each year, the programme takes a new Royal College of Art design graduate and teams him or her with industry, government or voluntary sector partners to work on socially inclusive design briefs. Recent research projects include making mobile phones more accessible for older people and developing new lighting concepts for people with sight loss.
- Work will be exhibited at the RCA as part of the London Design Festival in 2010.
- High tech solutions do not fall within the scope of the research programme.
- The Royal College of Art has a proud history of collaboration with business, industry and the public sector. The Helen Hamlyn Centre provides a focus for people-centred design and innovation within the RCA. Since it started in 1999, the Helen Hamlyn Research Associates Programme has built and impressive track record of commercial and voluntary sector partnership, working with 75 organisations worldwide.
- CABE Space is a specialist unit within CABE that aims to bring excellence to the design, management and maintenance of parks and public space in our towns and cities.
- CABE is the government’s advisor on architecture, urban design and public space. As a public body, we encourage policymakers to create places that work for people. Advising, influencing and inspiring, we work to create well-designed, welcoming places. www.cabe.org.uk