Research on the significance of universal design in the physical environment for persons with mental or cognitive disability: a systematic literature search with categorization
We were commissioned by Bufdir to carry out a systematic literature search with categorization on the importance of universal design in the physical environment of public buildings for people with mental or cognitive disability.
People with mental and cognitive disabilities have a right to have the physical environment designed in such a way that it facilitates their equal use.
We conducted a systematic review of the type ‘systematic literature search with categorization’, to identify literature reviews about the significance of universal design in the physical environment for persons with mental or cognitive disability. We searched several databases in January 2023 for literature reviews published 2012-2023. We reviewed identified references and assessed relevance according to the inclusion criteria. The researchers briefly described each literature review that met the inclusion criteria.
12 literature reviews met the inclusion criteria:
- All reviews included both men and women
- Four reviews focused on children and/ or youth, and three focused on adults (five did not specify/limit age)
- The reviews concerned people with different types of mental disabilities, and the most common were autism spectre disorders
- The reviews concerned different types of buildings, mostly school buildings (n=7) and work places (n=5)
- The reviews focused mostly on lighting and sound/noise
- Nine reviews addressed level of functioning (including health) and four addressed equal accessibility
- None of the included reviews addressed needs and/or wishes regarding universal design
This systematic review shows that there are several literature reviews about universal design for persons with mental or cognitive disability. None address people’s needs and/or wishes, people with phobias or intellectual disability, and only a few types of buildings are studied in these reviews.