To reach a broader understanding of person-environment relationships as building blocks for universal design in research and practice, this paper combine and discuss three types of interaction between individuals and environments – instrumental, non-instrumental, and non-physical – and five constituent concepts, i.e. accessibility, usability, aesthetic experience, the experience of meaning and emotional experience. Theoretical frameworks/models for person-environment relationships are synthesized and combined based on a literature review and the author’s previous experiences. The author proposes to classify accessibility and usability as instrumental person-environment interaction, aesthetic experience as non-instrumental interaction, and experience of meaning and emotional experience as non-physical interaction. At the same time, acknowledge the potential of the three types of interaction to embed cues and choices to accommodate the widest variety and number of people throughout their lifespans. This paper contributes to understanding person-environment relationships as criteria to support research strategies and the operationalization of universal designing.
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