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Photograph of an informal settlement

Type

Journal Paper

Themes

Inclusive Design
Culture and Participation

Research Group

Disability Interactions
Bridging the Divide: Exploring the use of digital and physical technology to aid mobility impaired people living in an informal setlement

Giulia Barbareschi, Ben Oldfrey, Long Xin, Grace N. Magomere, Wyclife A. Wetende, Carol Wanjira, Joyce Olenja, Victoria Austin, and Catherine Holloway

The World Health Organisation estimate that there are approximately a billion people with disabilities who require access to appropriate assistive technology and this number is set to double by 2050 [82]. Assistive technologies (ATs) play a crucial role in the lives of people with disabilities and are necessary to be able to access essential services and participate in family and community life according to one’s aspirations [40, 62, 68, 81]. Although this is not often specifcally mentioned, the large majority of people with disabilities will routinely use more than one assistive device in their everyday lives [25, 26]. For example a person with a visual impairment is likely to use a white cane to navigate from their house to the office where they work and have a screen-reader, or an equivalent accessibility software, on their computer to be able to do their work once in the office [17].

ASSETS '20: Proceedings of the 22nd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility; 2020

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Abstract

Bridging the Divide: Exploring the use of digital and physical technology to aid mobility impaired people living in an informal setlement

Living in informality is challenging. It is even harder when you have a mobility impairment. Traditional assistive products such as wheelchairs are essential to enable people to travel. Wheelchairs are considered a Human Right. However, they are difficult to access. On the other hand, mobile phones are becoming ubiquitous and are increasingly seen as an assistive technology. Should therefore a mobile phone be considered a Human Right? To help understand the role of the mobile phone in contrast of a more traditional assistive technology – the wheelchair, we conducted contextual interviews with eight mobility impaired people who live in Kibera, a large informal settlement in Nairobi. Our findings show mobile phones act as an accessibility bridge when physical accessibility becomes too challenging. We explore our findings from two perspective – human infrastructure and interdependence, contributing an understanding of the role supported interactions play in enabling both the wheelchair and the mobile phone to be used. This further demonstrates the critical nature of designing for context and understanding the social fabric that characterizes informal settlements. It is this social fabric which enables the technology to be useable.

Cite

Bridging the Divide: Exploring the use of digital and physical technology to aid mobility impaired people living in an informal setlement

Giulia Barbareschi, Ben Oldfrey, Long Xin, Grace Nyachomba Magomere, Wycliffe Ambeyi Wetende, Carol Wanjira, Joyce Olenja, Victoria Austin, and Catherine Holloway. 2020. Bridging the Divide: Exploring the use of digital and physical technology to aid mobility impaired people living in an informal settlement. In Proceedings of the 22nd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS '20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 50, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1145/337362...

Bridging the Divide: Exploring the use of digital and physical technology to aid mobility impaired people living in an informal setlement

A venn diagram of People Place and Practice, overlapping circles showing the relationship

Type

Journal Paper

Themes

Inclusive Design
Co-creating Inclusive Public Spaces: Learnings from Four Global Case Studies on inclusive Cities

Public spaces, including recreational and social spaces, are often not prioritised. Inclusive public spaces are fundamental to participation and inclusive in society. Including persons with disabilities in the design and planning of the built environment supports equal rights and helps identify people’s aspirations for inclusive environments. Four city case studies will be discussed in this paper: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Varanasi, India; Surakarta, Indonesia; and Nairobi, Kenya.

The Journal of Public Space

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Abstract

Co-creating Inclusive Public Spaces: Learnings from Four Global Case Studies on inclusive Cities

This paper presents some of the findings from a global research study on inclusive infrastructure and city design and will focus on inclusive public spaces. Persons with disabilities can experience multi-dimensional exclusion from urban life, including but not limited to physical, attitudinal and social barriers. Public spaces, including recreational and social spaces, are often not prioritised. Inclusive public spaces are fundamental to participation and inclusive in society. Including persons with disabilities in the design and planning of the built environment supports equal rights and helps identify people’s aspirations for inclusive environments.
Four city case studies will be discussed in this paper: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Varanasi, India; Surakarta, Indonesia; and Nairobi, Kenya. Research participants and objectives are organised by three stakeholder groups:


  1. People - first-hand experiences of persons with disabilities living in the city and their aspirations for a more inclusive city
  2. Policy - the awareness and understanding of inclusive design among policy-makers
  3. Practice - the awareness and understanding of inclusive design among practitioners including barriers to implementation, opportunities and the relationship with assistive technology

Methods include document reviews, interviews, photo diaries and co-design workshops with participatory and inclusive engagement of persons with disabilities throughout. Findings on public spaces are discussed in three ways:


  1. The types of public spaces valued by participants in each of the four cities.
  2. The barriers and challenges experienced by persons with disabilities in the public realm.
  3. Aspirations for more inclusive public spaces and opportunities for inclusive design

The paper concludes by discussing how the targeted stakeholder groups of people, policy and practice also help represent three essential dimensions of inclusive city design and forming a framework for successful implementation and delivery and supporting targets set out through the UNCRPD and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Cite

Co-creating Inclusive Public Spaces: Learnings from Four Global Case Studies on inclusive Cities

Patrick, M. and McKinnon, I. (2022) “Co-creating Inclusive Public Spaces: Learnings from Four Global Case Studies on inclusive Cities”, The Journal of Public Space, 7(2), pp. 93–116. doi: 10.32891/jps.v7i2.1500.

Co-creating Inclusive Public Spaces: Learnings from Four Global Case Studies on inclusive Cities