Cabe Space and Helen Hamlyn Centre research public space navigation

A joint initiative between Cabe Space and the Helen Hamlyn Centre will see Royal College of Art industrial design graduate Ross Atkin undertake a research project into helping the blind better navigate public spaces.

Atkin, who is being sponsored by Cabe Space for the Sight Line project, will look into product design solutions to aid the blind and partially sighted.

Traffic-calming measures and the removal of signs, railings and kerbs has been cited as impacting on the ability of the blind to navigate public spaces safely. Blister paving, which covers most UK streets, is more than 20 years old, according to Cabe Space, and poses a threat to those with mobility issues and the elderly.

Sarah Gaventa, director of Cabe Space, says, ‘Eighty per cent of those designing our street are not designers – they’re from the Institute of Highways and Transportation. We need to raise the debate and try to make better use of good design brains.’

Atkin will work within a team lead by Rama Gheerawo, a research fellow of the Helen Hamlyn Centre, who heads up the institution’s Research Associates Programme.

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