The inaccessible world costs an immense amount of emotional labour. We’ve spoken about how a very narrow view on architecture and infrastructure planning has placed people with disabilities in a difficult position previously. It influences how we travel, work and play. Yet most people don’t understand the difficulties involved in a built environment that is not thinking about issues with movement.
Here are some of the ways the inaccessible world can be difficult-
- The assumption of height and weight doesn’t allow for people of all kinds of body shapes. Including children, people in wheelchairs and those large or short in stature.
- The size of steps or the steepness of ramps and gradients
- Packaging that needs two hands or that challenges motor skills and/or arthritic joins
- The position of a door knob, button or carpark ticketing system
- A lack of accessible parking- or someone else parked in it – or incorrectly policing it
- The gap between train and platform, the unstable and narrow ferry gangplank or the height of a bus
- Emergency signals aren’t standard and can exclude the deaf community and/or people with low or no vision
- People leaning on hand rails and safety rails
- The transport timetable that is text only
- No lift in the building
- The failure to allow service dogs in training into public spaces and the issues faced with people that do not understand the rights of the service dog and handler post graduation
- Sensory overload in the supermarket and public spaces through excessive noise, concrete structures and dining with no soft furnishings to dull the noise
- Cocktail tables with high chairs
- Closed captions are not standard
- It’s hard to find a peaceful place if you are unwell, recovering, have a mental health condition or are neuro-diverse
- The world still has little built or community capability for children on the autism spectrum
- ‘Mind the gap’ trip hazards in the streets and on entry to buildings
- People who choose to sit in disability designated seating areas, park in accessible car spaces and then get stroppy about moving
The list is infinite yet could be fixed by approaching the world in recognition that health is not the dominate way we live. We have elderly people. People with disabilities. Children that are yet to grow into their body and the environment that surrounds them.
And yet, we allow a small segment to reign in planning and design out of expediency.
What would you want to see changed in the built environment if you could?