Temple Grandin as urban designer? Maybe so indeed.
If Temple Grandin has design insights about cattle animals, she might very well have design insights about human animals.
Just recently, I watched the HBO movie Temple Grandin. The movie is well-worth watching. It was a surprise; I had no idea of her work beyond the name. But the moment I saw the movie, I said, "Hot damn! She's a designer! Wow! I'd like to ask her about cities!"
This section of Grandin.Com contains drawings of cattle corral designs with curved races. Curved cattle chutes are more efficient for handling cattle because they take advantage of the natural behavior of cattle. Cattle move through curved races more easily because they have a natural tendency to go back to where they came from. In the computer aided drawing section there are layout drawings of cattle yard designs for both large and small ranches and feedlots. There are also drawings of a cattle loading ramp for trucks, diagonal stockyard pens for cattle, and detail drawings of a single file race and cattle dip vat. If you are planning to build new corrals or other cattle handling facilites you can download blueprints of cattle pen layouts that will reduce stress on cattle and improve handling efficiency.
Temple Grandin is autistic. She has insights into animal behavior which makes the design of the slaughter process more humane. She changed the design (for example, closed sight lines and cleaning baths as one example) to lessen the terror of disturbed and confused the animals which create created fear and cost. As a woman, and autistic, she had to fight to get her ideas used.
Grandin was able to see a better and more humane (relatively-speaking) way to run a slaughter-house.
So might Temple Grandin have thoughts to offer about cities? At first glance, you'd think nothing. She's a country girl, spends her time on ranches...blah-blah-blah.
But wait a sec, what is urban design all about? It's about understanding human behavior to design more humane (comfortable in my terminology) cities. If Temple Grandin has design insights about cattle animals, she might very well have design insights about human animals.
Temple Grandin, by her own words as I understood, is not interested in individual people much less groups of people. That doesn't mean that she dislikes people but that because she is autistic she simply is uninterested in them. She doesn't relate to them — no life of the party! no hanging out in coffee shops! (Maybe I mis-understand, just my superficial take. And she sure seems like an amiable, open person so I'm a bit confused.)
Anyway, liking something and observing it are totally different things. You may study ants, or clouds or sub-atomic particles and gain great insights into them but not really like them. So it may be with Grandin.
So, I'd be very curious to hear what observations that Grandin might have about cities.
Or if she claims that she hasn't had any insights, I'd ask her to start taking a look at human settlements in her daily life and in her wider travels. Her insights may not bubble-up on their own but I wonder if in conversation with a skilled interlocutor, she might not say some very interesting things to say about cities.
So I just betcha that a woman who has insights into animal behavior and the design of spaces would have insights into human settlement.