We are interested in the way people with visual impairments negotiate Glasgow’s streets and spaces and have been working with a group of people with varying degrees of visual impairment to work out how to make thing better for them.
With help from the Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living, we organised a walk around the west end of Glasgow where we recorded obstacles to mobility and any experiences our participants particularly enjoyed. Our walk gave us an opportunity for a relaxed conversation about attitudes to wellbeing and exercise, and to gauge responses to participants from the general public.
We now have a much better understanding of the different types of visual impairment that people experience, the way in which this impacts on the way people move through space, and better ways to design streets and neighbourhoods. People with very profound visual impairment used a cane to navigate; surprisingly, this enabled them to walk more quickly and to be more confident in their surroundings than others whose partial impairment meant that they had limited, but distorted, vision and spatial awareness.
We followed this up with an exhibition in the office which included braille signage and bespoke mapping which could be understood by touch.
To highlight to the public how difficult someone’s life can be with a visual impairment, we repainted our office façade with an artwork based on a ‘dazzle pattern’ used to camouflage battleships in the second world war. This provides a visual representation of what it is like to negotiate streets where obstructions are hard to see.