Domain: Research

Themes: Inclusive Design, Culture and Participation

AT2030 Inclusive Infrastructure

Project Overview

For assistive technology to change lives, it needs to be supported by an accessible and enabling environment. This means that the cities and buildings we live in need to be accessible and inclusive – so that everyone can experience the world around them in a fair and equal way. This calls for evidence, strategies and tools that support cities to embed inclusive design in city planning, urban development, infrastructure, and all aspects of the built environment. The AT2030 Inclusive Infrastructure case studies will provide this evidence and develop recommendations for action.

Globally, there is increasing attention on inclusive cities as a vital aspect of the UN’s 2030 Agenda, but there is still limited evidence and guidance on the opportunity of inclusive or universal design and we need to involve persons with disabilities in the inclusive city agenda. We want to co-design solutions with persons with disabilities and deliver ideas for tangible action to shape inclusive cities. Each case study is delivered in partnership with local organisations and offers in depth insights and recommendation specific to the city, we will then bring together the different case studies to develop a comparison report and a global action report.

Workshop participants looking on the map and marking locations
Participatory mapping exercises in Ulaanbaatar, Varanasi and Surakarta (Solo) have helped to identify opportunities and priorities for actions towards inclusive cities.

The Challenge

GDI Hub is developing a global inclusive design strategy, to do this we need evidence on the current state of cities, the lived experiences of persons with disabilities living in those cities and to understand the perspectives of practitioners and policy-makers who help shape the built environment and have the capacity to lead change.

The questions we are asking include:

  • What current policy, regulation, guidelines or good practice exist for an inclusive built environment?
  • How is inclusive design understood? Is it being implemented?
  • What does good inclusive infrastructure look like?
  • What is it like to live with a disability in each city?
  • How can inclusive infrastructure support AT use?

The Research

We’re conducting six case studies in six cities around the world over a period of 3 years to build global knowledge on inclusive design. We’re engaging key stakeholder groups and aim to bring together their insights to develop practical recommendations through interviews, photo diaries, co-design workshops and multi-stakeholder workshops. These stakeholder include:

  1. People: Persons with Disabilities living in these cities and their wider communities
  2. Practice: Architects, urban planners, construction industry professionals
  3. Policy: City leadership, decision-makers, policy-makers
A person with physical disability getting into an auto rickshaw
In Varanasi, India, micromobility options are an essential mode of transport for everyone, but especially for persons with disabilities


Healthy City Design Conference Presentation: ‘Integrating inclusion and resilience through inclusive design practice: challenges and opportunities for designing with disabled people in lower- and middle-income countries’

Project Team

Colour image of Iain McKinnon.
Iain Mckinnon
Co-founder GDI Hub and Director of Inclusive Design
Colour image of Mikaela Patrick, a white woman with shoulder length dark hair, wearing glasses.
Mikaela Patrick
Inclusive Design Researcher


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