The focus of designs of facilities has shifted form the traditional methods and now it is dictated by the needs of both the users and residents. The needs may include health conditions. The designs are created to suit supportive and efficient staff performance in addition to reducing stress among visitors and residents. Other aims include increasing performance, ensuring customer satisfaction, and improving productivity. The designs put in mind the role of nature in making the structures safe and easier to use.
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Health institutions for example need to have outside gardens. The view of the garden and its shade improves the health outcomes by reducing stress thus helping in the management of stress and shows the commitment by the institutions to take care of the well-being of both their visitors and residents.
If the gardens extend to other sites that can be used for physical exercise then the depression that results from stress is greatly reduced. More groups that are targeted by the improved designs other than those in the health institutions include the sightless, the hearing impaired, wheelchair users who have challenges in walking and the partially blind.
Designers starting with those in the urban centers must take into account open places, pedestrian routes, and recreational areas. Architectural designs have to take care of the horizontal and vertical accessibility to outdoors by the physically challenged. This has to be considered whether it is among the new structures or the existing ones. Elevators, stairs, entrances, rest rooms, handrails, and doors are among the facilities within the structures that are designed to make ensure that the needs of all the visitors and residents are satisfied.
The needs of people also influence the design of public places to improve their quality and usage. They have to be designed to meet the diverse cultures and outdoor life. People’s needs and experiences must be satisfied in the process of preparing the designs. The designs of outdoors in public places have to be user centered.
Public spaces are considered as participatory landscapes. People claim these places through their feelings and actions. Direct human involvement calls for a valued examination of control as a major element in designing urban spaces. Control comes in to take care of personal and social benefits that people get from these public environments. Control is the ability of users whether individuals or groups to influence, use, or gain access to a public place. As such, control becomes a psychological construct.
Control increases the design and management techniques on the use of streets, plazas, and parks. The needs of people have led to legislation of laws and regulations that guide designers in their work. The laws cover overall plans that control density, building accessibility paths and zoning of land use.
The aim is to cater for the different needs of people and make sure the structures are favorable to the differences in the lives of the public. Following the increased influence on designs by the needs, there is direct involvement of users in the construction and maintenance of public places.
In nineteen eighty-five for instance, residents of Manteo in North Carolina were involved in designing and later construction of a boardwalk along the town’s waterfront. There has been increased public involvement in the design and construction of many gardens in New York City that are called community-built gardens. This has resulted in increased use of such places coming with greater satisfaction. Work places, parks, and playgrounds are examples of such places.
Basing on different needs of people, the ability to control the environment around by a person makes him or her environment fit. This reduces stress to a considerable degree. Reducing the ability of people to control their environment is likely to affect the person negatively by increasing stress, such as failure by a person to move out of a crowded or noisy place.
It may also cause social withdrawals among people. In adapting to fit in the environment, people may retreat from a crowded area, another person may move away from a person who is adjacent if the subway is full. Outdoors must be designed to make sure that these needs are fully catered for. The greatest purpose of constructing outdoors is for the use by people; the users must have their different needs satisfied in the design because this increases the sense of attachment.
Popular outdoor recreational facilities include gardening, swimming, jogging, bicycling, and fishing grounds. Places that offer these services that accommodate different needs of people give psychological and restorative benefits. This adds satisfaction to other needs of people and increases self-esteem.
The designers also ought to take care of the needs of the disabled to make sure they create environments that are free of barriers. In the designs, obstructions must have warning signs around them. The signs though must be at level that is not obstructive. This ensures that protruding elements do not become obstacles along the travel paths. By doing this, the sightless would be catered for. Examples of obstructions vary according to different disabilities.
However, general types include advertising signs, bollards, street furniture, trees, street plans, shop awnings, and traffic signs. These items both in the design and on site should be removed from pathways. The design should include adhering to the standard measurement of the width and height laid down by professional architectural bodies.
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Warnings that conform to the ability of the sightless to detect must be included in the designs. Such warnings include a straight shape rising from the pathway surface. Designers need to include tactile warning marks on the ground around the obstruction and raised platforms. Garbage tins should not face the pedestrian path.
This especially if the tins are attached to lamp stands. To reduce collisions for the people who have visual impairment, the tins should be painted. Other actions necessary include complete blocking of space below the stairs and ramp. Tactile surfaces and protective rails can be used to mark these areas. If bollards are used, anywhere, then they should be painted in a contrasting color or it should be painted in stripes.
The distance between the guiding posts should be to a minimum length as described in the standards by the professional bodies. Fences or continuous barriers that can be seen easily by users for safety reasons should be used to protect temporary obstructions caused by road works such as excavations along pathways.
It is highly recommended that for existing outdoor facilities that do not serve the needs of the entire users whether visitors or residents, then they should be redesigned to conform to the needs. Modern facilities must be designed to satisfy the needs of people.