Participation by patients, staff and visitors in healthcare design and planning offers multiple benefits in addressing the complex challenges of creating salutary environments for hospital patients, staff and visitors. The purpose of this paper is to present the benefits of participatory design and design imperatives to facilities architects and landscape architects.
The paper describes three case studies in which participatory methods were used to engage users in decision making over 15 years and creates a framework using “design imperatives” that has been successful in the design of outdoor settings.
Nine design imperatives can be used to design facilities that achieve a range of therapeutic benefits for patients, staff and visitors.
The research limitations of this paper are those of using case studies in general. The implications suggest that papers such as this can be used in future hypothesis‐driven research.
Designers do not have the luxury or ability to base myriad design decisions on experimental research findings, as almost all design is unique and a hypothesis waiting to be tested. The result is that guiding principles, or design imperatives based on participatory methods, can form the basis for design decision making.
The social implications are that some form of participatory decision making in facilities design has benefits to multiple constituencies, specifically, patients, staff and visitors.
Although this paper refers to many existing studies and places the results and conclusions within a context that is supported by the literature, much of the value is because the results are based on practice. More than a dozen projects form the basis for concluding that general principles of design, person‐environment interactions and participatory methods lead to desirable and beneficial outcomes.
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