Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Leslie Lee

Second Advisor

Eric Kramer


This investigation derived from a personal childhood memory of an autistic boy, living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). His struggles to communicate and to have people understand him drives this thesis investigation in hopes of better connecting people of all abilities through accessible design. After serving a summer term working at a special needs inclusion camp, there is the exposure to the lack of awareness and communication gap between design and people living with autism. The study develops a series of strategies that strengthen communication between people with and without ASD and ultimately seeks to educate the design profession on how to create more inclusive designs. After seeing, first hand, the struggles that the families go through, financially and socially, it is the aim of this proposal to develop landscape design strategies that help facilitate more sympathetic and connected experiences for everyone.

The ideas and concepts have changed throughout the investigation. Phase 1 started with trying to design something that people with autism spectrum disorder could use as a treatment tool. Phase 2 built upon phase 1 by focusing primarily on raising awareness and connecting people through. Phase 3 is a narrative about a boy living with autism who loves bright sunlight, in order to make people know him and others who are different than us. People are so different but at the same time so similar, by realizing the differences people could know that actually everyone is equal and similar, we all have the rights to be respected and treated well.

This project does not suggest that landscape design will solve developmental disorder issues or that all social inequalities against people with disorders are erased. Instead, it is about facilitating a layering of relationships and a dialogue between people and creating spaces that are seamlessly accessible by all abilities. Through the narrative approach a story about an autistic boy is told and, more deeply, it highlights the differences in aspects that we all have, in which we all see and understand the same world. .



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