The University of Oklahoma-led project aims to improve public spaces in cities for the benefit of neurotic children


The project led by the University of Uberta de Catalunya (UOC) and involving the Barcelona City Council, the Global Institute for Integrated Neurodevelopmental Care (IGAIN) and the Urban Emergencies Laboratory of LEMUR aims to improve public spaces in cities to benefit neuro-differentiated children – minority groups of children with disabilities. . Neurological differences, children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in particular. The initiative, called ASD-BCNeuroinclusiva: Activating spaces with a neural forked group and funded by the European Union’s new European Bauhaus Programme, aims to provide solutions for creating more inclusive spaces for this group.

Despite the progress that has been made in this area in recent years, children with autism still have difficulties in using and enjoying urban public spaces. The lack of more inclusive spaces means that their risk of social exclusion is more acute, and that these children may miss out on the opportunity to play outside. Various studies have shown the multiple sensory, emotional, and social benefits of connecting with nature among children with autism, as it reduces their anxiety levels and enhances their sensory skills.”

Blanca Calvo, principal investigator on the project, and a member of the Laboratory for Urban Transformation and Global Change (TURBA) at the University of California’s Interdisciplinary Internet Institute (IN3).

The project explores innovative design strategies linking inclusive play with nature and aesthetics, and will provide urban planning professionals with methods and tools to design sustainable play areas for and with the community of people with autism spectrum disorder. “At the Gran Clariana Park on Barcelona’s Plaça Glòries, BCNeuroinclusive will develop a co-creative approach that provides an experience in space that includes experiences with the body, play, and other creative ways to explore the multiple sensualities and connection to space through aesthetic appreciation,” said the researcher.

The project uses an interdisciplinary approach in order to achieve its goals, which include urban planning, design, social sciences, education, health and the arts. The goal is to reimagine and transform play areas in cities in order to provide design guidelines that can be implemented in any other city or country in Europe based on the experience in Barcelona.

The new UOC project, which began in July, will end in December 2022, and the results will be announced in two presentations in January 2023. The initiative was presented as part of a European Commission call entitled Participation in the creation of a public space through citizen participation in the EIT New European Bauhaus Community A campaign that falls within the objectives of the European Green Deal adopted in 2020.

project partners

The lead project partner is the Laboratory for Urban Transformation and Global Change (TURBA) at the University of California’s Interdisciplinary Internet Institute (IN3), a laboratory with extensive experience coordinating European co-creation projects. These include PERFORM, COOLSCHOOLS, T-Factor and EPSN.

Barcelona City Council is involved in the project through its Office for Environment, Urban Planning, Infrastructure and Mobility, working with the Municipal Institute for Persons with Disabilities (IMPD) and the Institute for Childhood and Adolescence.

Another partner is the Global Institute for Integrated Neurodevelopmental Care (IGAIN), a leading Spanish center in the diagnosis and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders. Provides training for ASD professionals and accreditation for ASD diagnostic tools in America and Europe, as well as evidence-based treatment for people with ASD throughout their lives.

Finally, another project partner is the LEMUR Urban Emergencies Laboratory, an international, multidisciplinary association that creates community spaces for well-being and promotes environmental and social transformations through educational and research initiatives, integrating architecture and environmental engineering. Examples of her projects include Arrels (Roots), El cos de la casa (The Body of the House), De l’escola al mercat (School to Market), and La pell de la ciutat a Glòries (The Skin of the City in Glòries). .

This research at the University of Oklahoma supports the Sustainable Development Goals: 10 reduce inequality and 11, Sustainable cities and communities.

ASD-BCNeuroinclusiva: Activating spaces with a neural forked array is the new European EIT project Bauhaus with the support of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.


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