Accessibility and Social Inclusion

Masashi Kajita

Abstract


In recent decades, the idea of accessibility has been discussed and applied to architecture and planning across various fields, scales and policies. Continuous efforts to eliminate body-based discrimination in built environments have improved everyday life, especially for persons with physical impairments. In the same breath, accessibility’s legitimised requirements and their uses present a number of problems and highlight potential limits of the concept interpreted and operated in the field of architecture.

Central to Danish contexts, this paper intends to take this current framework of accessibility one-step further. Universal design’s holistic approach could relativise roles of accessibility by considering what follows when equitable access and use are obtained. Notably universal design embraces the importance of social inclusion in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The realisation of an inclusive society relies on the existence of accessible environments that in the first place allow everyone, with or without impairments, to be placed on an equal footing. By embracing the importance of social inclusion, this paper aims to contribute to strengthen the implementation of the concept of accessibility in order to advance spatial planning and design of architecture and built environments. The paper is based on the author’s PhD thesis Spatial dimensions of accessibility.

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