Martina Hale

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Areas of Interest: Designing Environments for people living with dementia; inclusive public places; Design for All

B Arch; MPH

Martina is an Architect who specialises in Health and Aged Care Design, having previously undertaken a Master of Public Health and a Hospital Based Diploma of Nursing. she is currently conducting a study that is exploring what might be learnt from the experience of people living with dementia as they access public space, and how that might inform the design of inclusive public spaces more generally.

Thesis Title: Learning from the experience of people living with dementia as they visit their favourite public place to inform the design of more inclusive public places.

This research will consider the experience of people living with dementia as they visit their favourite public places in Toowoomba, to see what we can learn about what makes these public places desirable, and how that might inform the design of inclusive public places more generally. Within the last two to three years there has been a significant increase in published research from around the world relating to the experience of people living with dementia in the community, or the neighbourhood. The studies predominantly come from the fields of Dementia Studies and the Social Sciences, and though they often reference the importance of both the physical and social aspects of the built environment, there are significantly fewer papers from the fields of Design and Urban Planning. The design of environments that bring delight and foster social engagement springs from a designer’s ability to use an iterative process of imagination, analysis and synthesis to generate the desired outcome. Designing delightful environments that are inclusive regardless of a person’s physical, cognitive, affective, or social ability, involves expanding our imaginations to include differing perceptions and ways of being in the environment. To move beyond merely compensating for what people can’t do, to celebrating what they can. This study will consider how these experiences compare to current design theory and practice, particularly that related to embodied experience, and how the findings might inform urban design theory and practice for the creation of public spaces that are inclusive, regardless of a person’s abilities.

Principal Supervisor: Prof. Jill Franz
Associate Supervisor: Dr. Mirko Guaralda

Estimated Completion Date: April, 2022