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The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design wins funding to explore how neurodivergent people experience streets

Image of people walking along an urban street with words 'Streets for Diversity' superimposed over like a street sign

The Rees Jeffreys Road Fund has awarded The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design Royal College of Art a grant to explore how neuro-divergent people experience streets.

Streets are public places that belong to everyone. They not only help us to get around, but also define and shape our neighbourhoods and form an important foundation for our everyday lives. They can have a big impact on the way we live, how active we are, how well we know our community and affect our overall wellbeing. We all have different experiences of streets, and neuro-divergent people bring further new responses and values to our public realm. They are often attuned and sensitive to subtle, sensorial and perceptual qualities in their surroundings.

Yet to date there is very little known about how neuro-divergent people experience streets. This project aims to bridge that gap in research, and hypothesises that our current streets and public realm may, by design, exclude those of us that are neuro-divergent. To investigate this, neuro-divergent citizens and transport experts will be invited to participate in a range of co-design activities that will include walks and talks, online surveys, interviews and co-creation workshops which together explore the challenges and opportunities found in our urban streets.

The work will be led by Dr Katie Gaudion, Senior Research Fellow in The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and Dan Phillips, Innovation Fellow in the IMDC Royal College of Art. It builds on their common interest in co-design, inclusive design and the need for more sustainable places and mobility systems.