User or expert?

Rene Sørensen, Camilla Ryhl

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

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Modern design thinking welcomes design strategies that actively involve and
cooperate with the user. Designing has grown into creating for people, with
people. In the Nordic Region Co-design and Participatory Design are well
known methods for bridging the gap between designer and user. Based on
the on-going PhD research project “Generating Inclusive Built Environments
through User Driven Dialogue in the Architectural Design Process”, along
with qualitative research conducted at the Danish Building Research Institute,
this paper discusses the role of the disabled user in the design process
of inclusive architecture.
The Disabled People’s Organisations Denmark (DPOD) is one of the core
actors in user participation related to accessibility and Universal design
(UD). However, there seems to be a confusion regarding the role and responsibilities
of these users. As users of accessible solutions and UD, the
DPOD representatives are repeatedly mistaken for experts on accessible
design and the current Danish Building Regulations. Consequently, the
DPOD representatives are seen as guarantors of the correct and legitimate
design solution.
This confusion combined with the user´s partial understanding of complex
architectural processes and the architect´s limited knowledge of “life with a
disability” leads to misinterpretations in the collaborative relationships. These
misunderstandings might lead to hindrances in the process as well as architectural
solutions that do not meet expectations.
The aim of this article is to shed light on these misinterpretations and discuss
the role as well as reflect upon the knowledge potential of the user, in
generating built inclusive environments. Through research data and theory
the article analyses the current situation and discusses the implication of revising
the user role. Hence the aim of this article is to contribute to the process
of redefining the role of the user, with regard to UD as process and design
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationARCH17 Conference proceedings : 3rd international conference on architecture, research, care and health.
EditorsNanet Mathiasen, Anne Kathrine Frandsen
Number of pages14
Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
PublisherPolyteknisk Boghandel og Forlag
Publication date26 Apr 2017
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-93585-00-3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2017
Event ARCH17 - The 3rd International Conference on Architecture, Research, Care and Health: 3rd international conference on architecture, research, care and health - Aalborg Universitet, A.C. Meyers Vænge 15, København, Denmark
Duration: 26 Apr 201727 Apr 2017
Conference number: 3


Conference ARCH17 - The 3rd International Conference on Architecture, Research, Care and Health
LocationAalborg Universitet, A.C. Meyers Vænge 15
Internet address


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