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Title: Designerly Ways of Not Knowing: What Designers Can Learn about Space from People Who are Blind
Authors: Heylighen, Ann
HERSSENS, Jasmien 
Issue Date: 2014
Source: Journal of Urban Design, 19 (3), p. 317-332
Abstract: This paper sets out to demonstrate that architects' and other designers' visual ways of knowing may come with a considerable risk. They risk favouring visual qualities over non-visual qualities, but also cognition over embodiment in how space is understood and conceived. Their designerly ways of knowing thus may as well be viewed as designerly ways of not knowing—of disregarding the bodily experience of the built environment. This disregard becomes especially clear when considering the spatial experience of persons who are blind, as they are able to appreciate sounds, smells or haptic qualities designers may not be attuned to. Although the paper focuses on design in architecture, it points out that the underlying rationale may be relevant for other design domains as well, including urban design.
Keywords: Design for All; design thinking; Universal Design; architecture, blind, haptic
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ISSN: 1357-4809
DOI: 10.1080/13574809.2014.890042
Rights: This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Validations: vabb 2016
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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