Skip to content
CityLab
Design

How to Design a Better City for Deaf People

Lighting, sound-deflecting surfaces, big spaces—all of these elements can influence a deaf person’s ability to communicate. DeafSpace design considers it all.
relates to How to Design a Better City for Deaf People
Evan Vucci/AP

A museum atrium with a grand, lofted ceiling. A restaurant with an open kitchen, a candle-lit bar, and trendy metal chairs. A conference room with a long, rectangular table.

These spaces might look good. But to deaf and hard-of-hearing people who pass through them, the designs can be alienating: too echoey or loud to hear voices; too shadowy, dark, or blinding to discern sign language or read lips; or lacking necessary sight-lines.