Default Image
June 19, 2017

Dr. Angela Bourne, professor in the School of Design, together with the co-authors of her book, Designing for Autism Spectrum Disorders, recently won a prestigious 2017 Great Places Award from the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA).

Presented in partnership with Project for Public Spaces, the EDRA Great Places Awards recognize professional and scholarly excellence in environmental design and pay special attention to the relationship between physical form of the built environment and human activity or experience. Four exemplary projects/books on interior design, architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and planning were chosen for the 2017 awards presentation. Each of this year's winning entries were displayed during the 48th EDRA annual conference in Madison, Wisconsin.

Dr. Bourne and her collaborators – Kristi Gaines, Michelle Pearson and Mesha Kleinbrink – won in the Book Award category.

"In a year with many high-quality book entries, [this] submission truly exemplifies the concern for human centered place-making for a particularly vulnerable group (individuals with autism spectrum disorder)," indicated Mallika Bose, EDRA representative and coordinator of the 2017 Great Places Awards. "Additionally, the book illustrates a commitment to promoting the links between design research and practice. We are proud to honor your work."

Designing for Autism Spectrum Disorders aims to increase knowledge about the influence of natural and manmade environments on individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other forms of intellectual/developments disabilities (IDD). Using a variety of methods (case studies, interviews with individuals, behavior mapping, picture preference survey, photo voice and survey of special education teachers) the authors identified environmental features that impact individuals on the autism spectrum.

Partially based on Dr. Bourne's Ph.D. research on the same topic, the book presents the findings in an accessible manner to enable practitioners to plan and design environments for a diverse range of individuals including ASD and other forms of IDD.

Angela and co-authors also won the 2017 book award from the International Interior Designer's Educators Conference in Chicago in March.


Founded in 1968, the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) is a global interdisciplinary community of research, design and planning educators, professionals and students. EDRA focuses on the links between people and their built and natural environments, with members pioneering environment and behavior studies, evidence-based design, facility evaluation methods, attention to social justice and equity in the built environment, sustainability, active living community planning, universal design, diversity in design, workplace design, informatics and digital technologies.

Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Their pioneering Placemaking approach helps citizens transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs.

The Great Places Awards are unique among programs that honor professional and scholarly excellence in environmental design. They seek to recognize work that combines expertise in design, research and practice, and contributes to the creation of dynamic, humane places that engage our attention and imagination.

For further information about Fanshawe College, please contact Corporate Communications.