Thursday, 27 February 2014

Urban Planning & The Accessible, Inclusive City

In 1961, Lewis Mumford published his study "The City in History: Its Origin, Its Transformations and its Prospects" in which he described the shortcomings of conceptualising modernism and urban industrialism's incapability to deal with the many facets (social, cultural, gender, ethnicity) of socio-cultural needs and modernism's tendency to minimise individuality. Mass production of industrial technology decontextualised urban space from the needs of different body types and accessibility requirements. In fact, urban space that is not fully accessible is the source of additional barriers to people with disabilities and their inclusion in society. Modern cities are constructed on "the able-bodied majority's value structures, beliefs and notions of the world that dominate the ability to access". The term "Architectural Apartheid" refers to the very lack of services to the disabled and the resulting segregation (Ross & Nelson, 2005).



Ill-conceived environments disable many people and prevent them from participation. Often, the needs of people with disabilites are considered separately from others or only after the design has been completed (e.g. separate platform lifts or ramps, kerb free level access parking bays). "An inclusive environment considers people's diversity and breaks down unnecessary barriers and exclusions in a manner that benefits us all." (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2003)



Department for Communities and Local Government (2003) Planning and access for disabled people: a good practice guide (via)
Ross, J. & Nelson, K. M. P. (2005) The Accessible & Inclusive City. An Academic Paper Submitted to The World Urban Forum.
photo of Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson with the Model of the Seagram Building (1955) via and of Mies van der Rohe peering between two models of apartment buildings he designed for Chicago's Lake Shore Drive (1956) via

12 comments:

  1. What can I say other than... thank you. Your blog is a true inspiration.

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    1. Well said, Derek.

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    2. Thank you so much Derek, Karen and Kenneth!

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  2. Same here!

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  3. Such an interesting subject, not least in the light of the upcoming Paralympics. Great, Laura!

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    1. I really look forward to the Paralympics. Thank you, Erin!

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  4. I'm instant fan. Exceptional journal/blog!

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    1. Thank you for your really kind feedback, John!

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