DESIGNING ACCESSIBLE KITCHEN FOR THE MOVEMENT IMPAIRED IN KENYA

                                               ABSTRACT
Women and men with disabilities can and want to be productive members of society. In both developed and developing countries, promoting more inclusive societies and employment opportunities for people with disabilities requires not only improved access to basic education, vocational training relevant to labour market needs and jobs suited to their skills, interests and abilities, with adaptations as needed but also recognizing the need to dismantle other barriers - making the physical environment more accessible. In Kenya and in the world, as the challenges and opportunities facing businesses organizations and societies grow more complex an approach known as design thinking is employed. The definition of design has expanded to include not just artifacts but strategic services and systems, an iterate problem solving process of discovery, ideation and an experimentation that employs various design based techniques to gain insight and yield innovative results solutions for virtually any organizational or business challenge prominently including those within public service1. At the heart of this approach is a deep sensitivity to the needs of people and the environment around us. The term "universal design" can be described as the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life.2 It is important for there to be free access for disabled people.3 For instance, the kitchen is a very important room in the house, many special memories are created in this room. Moments such as when a parent is teaching their child how to cook authentic popular Kenyan delicacies such as ‗Mukimo’ or ‗Arosto’ or such simple activities as sharing a meal and telling stories of the day creates lasting fond memories of times shared with family. Very many movement impaired Kenyans are missing out on these somewhat life changing experiences since they are having great difficulty going about their daily activities in the Kitchen. This is because the existing kitchens are not designed to include usability for people with disabilities. This article presents preceding design guidelines and evaluation criteria, lists The Principles of Universal Design and provides examples of designs that satisfy each, and suggests future developments that would facilitate applying the Principles to assess the usability of kitchens. It will also suggest ways in which sustainability can be integrated into the design and function of the kitchen and also explain explicitly how to employ aspects of culture specifically the Agikuyu culture in order for authentic aesthetics and preservation of heritage in this modern age.

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