Quality Open Space Experiences for the Visually Impaired


Researchers, economists and policymakers have made tremendous efforts to improve the quality of life (QOL) in many cities. While many researchers point out that open space is particularly essential in providing recreation and leisure zones in densely populated areas, it is challenging to enable high quality open space experiences (QOSE) for people with disabilities, especially those with sensory disabilities. Using open spaces in Hong Kong as a case study, this paper defines QOSE for visual disabilities. The study uses quantitative and qualitative research methods such as interviews, questionnaires and observations. The features of current open space experiences and factors affecting QOSE are identified. The results show that the implementation status of QOL improvement strategies stated by policymakers is quite different to visually impaired persons’ perspectives. This study further proposes 11 QOSE indictors suitable for the challenges, policy goals and strategies. The findings of this study can provide guidance for researchers, designers and policymakers as they consider how to achieve QOSE for visually impaired persons in high-density living environments.

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    Tactile path tiles of three different functions are used in Hong Kong. The functions are to guide, alert and stop the visually impaired persons.


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The authors would like to acknowledge the Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship Scheme (RGC 35000316), Internal Competitive Research Grant and Endowed Professorship in Inclusive Design for the data collection and the preparation of the paper. The authors would also like to thank The Hong Kong Polytechnic University for this study. The authors thank the Architecture and Building Research Institute, China Association for the Blind, China Disabled Persons’ Federation, Hong Kong Blind Union; Taiwan Foundation for the Blind and The Hong Kong Society for the Blind for providing a lot of useful information. The authors also acknowledge Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the Visiting Scholarship to one of the authors, Prof. Siu, during the final analysis and preparation of this paper.

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Correspondence to Kin Wai Michael Siu.

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Siu, K.W.M., Xiao, J.X. & Wong, Y.L. Quality Open Space Experiences for the Visually Impaired. Applied Research Quality Life 16, 183–199 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-019-09758-5

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  • Open space
  • Policy
  • Quality of life
  • User experience
  • Visually impaired persons