User Preference and Meaning in an Educational Facility: Part I

Roberta L. Kilty-Padgett

DOI: 10.2190/KURH-8DAT-GFL9-NE0A


This article addresses user preference and meaning associated with environmental variables in a recently constructed building at Michigan State University by handicappers and non-handicappers. The study focused on two issues: 1.) use of space; and 2.) meaning and symbolism. An approximately equal number of handicappers with mobility handicaps (N = 16) and non-handicappers (N = 20) volunteered to follow building scenarios prior to questionnaire administration. Additionally, sixty-one randomly chosen building users were interviewed in a shorter version of the original questionnaire to reflect every day facility usage. Recognition of the handicapper entryway as something other than a main or secondary entry supported the connotation of stigma. Stigma was not associated with interior components: restroom stalls and drinking fountains. The Chi-square test showed no significant differences in preference for restroom stalls. Generally, people of both groups showed no preference or preferred to use the barrier-free drinking fountain. Building familiarity was not a critical factor.

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