• Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no echo chambers. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! You can also register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account.

Planning Urban Areas for Able Disabled People

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,139
Points
27
Does anyone out there know of any planning consultants or advocacy organizations that specialize by working with public officials, planners, developers, and architects to make urban areas more friendly and navigable for folks with disabilities?

This question is no passing fancy for me and is of great personal interest.

Five years ago, my older brother, when he was 28, had a stroke that left him with limited mobility in his right leg, no mobility in his right arm, and severe speech and language definciencies (aphasia and apraxia, to be exact). Although he can drive his truck with ease and can make it up and down steps and stairs with little difficulty, there are some instances when I am with him, say, that if only a banister were attached to the wall, he would be able to grab it and walk up the stairs. These can be frustrating occasions because although he is disabled, he is indeed quite able, but if certain pieces of pedestrian-oriented furniture are missing from common areas and buildings, then we have to waste time looking for an elevator or another entrance. My brother doesn't mind riding the elevator, but he would prefer to navigate the routes that most normal, healthy people usually take.

Anyone know of a firm or specialist that researches, implements, or advocates policy for the disbaled in urban areas?
 
Messages
5,353
Points
31
I don't know of any but I thought that since the passage, and I think the relatively recent renewal, of the American Disabilities Act, everyone (meaning cities, developers, etc.) had to comply.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
you may want to check out the CMHC web site.

http://www.cmhc.ca

It is primarily residential based info, but may have other sources of info as well.

I do know that our National Building Code has sections related to accessibility.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,139
Points
27
No. The information out there is quite anemic. If anything, it's about advocacy and not related to planning, per se. Perhaps I should be looking on Google for "advocacy planning for the disabled."

Ironically, my mom had a stroke last week, and I've been thinking more about community planning for the disabled. She will be okay, but has a long road ahead of her at rehab.

As a professional planner, I feel impotent when it comes to adressing the needs of the disabled. I have no professional training in this realm, but I do know when a community has abysmal infrastructure for the mobility impaired. Fixing these communities so they are more livable for the disabled costs money, and right now, I see no one outside the non-profit & NGO sectors addressing these issues. How many public servants, Mayors, Township Managers, or City Council members do you know who actively advocate for improvements for the disabled and actually get things done? I don't know too many around here. I know this isn't a sexy issue, so I'm sure it doesn't get much coverage in the media. I just wish I had more time to look into this.

Here's something on universal design at the University of Buffalo: http://www.ap.buffalo.edu/idea/ Interesting, but I haven't found any case studies or project sheets on successful community planning for the disabled.

I have a few more links about adapting homes for the disabled, but that isn't what I'm looking for. I am looking for something more akin to the urban design of cities for the disabled, not design for homes that are friendly to the disabled.

EDIT:

1) Here's an interesting article: "Report of the CIB Expert Seminar on Building Non-Handicapping Environments, Budapest 1991: Research on urban planning and architecture for disabled persons in Iran: Establishing design criteria. By Gisoo Ghaem, Building and Housing Research Center, Teheran, Iran." Located at http://www.independentliving.org/cib/cibbudapest10.html It is the closest thing on the internet that I have been able to find that even remotely addresses the issues I am thinking about.

2) No links can be found in the Cyburbia Resource Directory for "disabled," "disability," "handicapped," or "mobility."
 
Last edited:

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Alan,

You may want to contac the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater. They, and the city, have won recognition for their efforts to make the community and campus handicapped-accessible. Sorry, but I do not have a name for you. I'll ask some of our folks if they have a contact.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,139
Points
27
Top