Benjamin Sebastian Bergner, Peter Zeile, Georgios Papastefanou, Werner Rech, Bernd Streich
More and more people are handicapped, because of a certain disabilities or the natural aging in the course of the enormous demographic change in industrial countries. Thus barrier-free-planning is a concrete goal in the German urban planning system. The research work at hand “methodical and practical foundation for the establishment of the EmBaGIS” deals with the development of a new, innovative planning instrument to identify and optimize urban spatial barriers for handicapped people. The concrete aim includes a conscious composition of the planning specified “top-down-“and bottom-up-approach” with the target to activate handicapped people in a participative method. The “bottom-up-approach” is based on a broad theoretical foundation, including the research fields of barrier-specified urban planning, subjective well-being and the field of emotional research. The question to the point is: How can we mark and evaluate urban spatial barriers in a valid and objective way to the concrete advantage of urban planning authority? In order to indentify barriers in the eye of the persons concerned, it is vital to know when and where a urban spatial barrier produces negative emotional reactions, e.g. a stress reaction. To achieve this, psycho-physiological monitoring is at the core of an Emotional Barrier GIS (EmBaGIS), using a sensor wristband to unobtrusively measure autonomic bodily functions as indicators for emotional reactions. Additionally, a GPS-Logger indicates the geographic position of the measured negative emotions. This approach was evaluated in two studies, concerning in the first study visually impaired and blind people (n=39), in the second study people with walking disabilities (n=21). Empirically, EmBaGIS is based on an “Empirical Three-Level-Analysis” to identify emotionally significant barriers. The first level is the measurement of the speed of movement. The hypothesis is raised that a decrease of kinetic walking energy is a first sign for the impact with a spatial barrier. On a second level skin conductance responses, indicating heightened attention demand, are described and on the third level skin temperature changes are used as indicators for stress. The results of our empirical studies show, that the EmBaGIS, based on psycho-physiological monitoring, adds to the identification of urban spatial barriers. By this experiences of handicapped people can be taken into consideration for urban planning processes.