Effects of the Living Environment on the Mentally Retarded (ELEMR) Project
The past 20 years have seen increasing pressure to integrate into society isolated groups such as the handicapped, racial minorities, and institutionalized populations. Spawned by this Zeitgeist, the normalization principle (Wolfensburger, 1977) suggested important architectural and programmatic changes for institutions for people called “developmentally disabled.”* This principle has been defined as: “making available to the mentally retarded patterns and conditions of everyday life which are as close as possible to the patterns of the mainstream of society” (Nirje, 1968). And, indeed, traditional institutions are almost totally antithetical to this principle. Residents of institutions often sleep in large wards; they eat in large dining halls; they aren’t permitted to have sexual relations; they live in large poorly furnished buildings; they receive little training or stimulation.
KeywordsState School Normalization Principle Private Space Modular Unit Private Area
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