Inclusive cities play an important role when it comes to developing new buildings. The British government defined inclusive design as ‘…a process that ensures that all buildings, places, and spaces can be easily and comfortably accessed and used by everyone’. This means including features like lifts and ramps, having curbless streets, or considering acoustic designs to benefit different hearing abilities. But it also means putting a focus on integration rather than segregation to undermine feelings of difference.
24th October 2018
By Paul Mills
Inclusive cities play an important role when it comes to developing new buildings. Smart cities are often talked about, but inclusive design is discussed far too infrequently. The British government defined inclusive design as ‘…a process that ensures that all buildings, places, and spaces can be easily and comfortably accessed and used by everyone’. This means including features like lifts and ramps, having curbless streets, or considering acoustic designs to benefit different hearing abilities. But it also means putting a focus on integration rather than segregation to undermine feelings of difference.
The nature of inclusive cities goes a lot further than the features of individual buildings. When these buildings come together in a complex city, inclusivity also becomes more complex. It includes not only those with disabilities but genders, classes and races. In fast-developing cities, which are becoming smarter, more efficient, and more productive, how do we accommodate an increasingly diverse society?
Depending on who you are, you may not think a city can be exclusive. However, in every city, there are parts that some of the population can’t access. This depends on who they are, or even sometimes what time of day it is.
Have you ever avoided a particular part of the city at night because you feared it was too dangerous to walk through? Many in the LGBTQ community have. Have you ever avoided walking a particular route home at night for fear of being attacked? Many women have. Have you ever had to take a longer route on public transport because you can’t access every stop? Many people with disabilities have. These are examples of how our cities can sometimes exclude people in our society without anyone noticing. But, we can start to tackle issues of inclusivity through changes to the built environment.
Using the example of women and men, we can see how changes to the city construction can start to create equality and inclusion. For instance, women feel less safe than men in the city after dark, especially in the inner-city. Simple changes like making sure all streets and public spaces are well-lit can go a long way in creating a safer space.
Women make more complex journeys than men, often being more responsible for travelling between schools, work, and shops in one day. They also account for 75% of all bus journeys undertaken. Merely changing bus routes to include easy travel between these areas would help women access the city as easily as men. A focus on multi-use buildings could bring their journey closer together and give them better access to labour markets.
There are also issues of physical inaccessibility. For example, there has been much discussion about disabled access to certain types of buildings. For example, nightclubs, which are particularly exclusive. Designing recreational buildings, not only work and residential ones, with inclusivity in mind can go a long way. It ensures people don’t miss out on city experiences due to the way their city has been built.
Many of these issues come down to more diversity and more thoughtful city planning. But quantity surveyors can play their part too. Choose manufacturers and companies for projects that show an effort to create diversity in their company. Their diversity will be reflected in their products and services, whether they are advising you on the best installations or producing specific manufacturing requests for inclusive building features.
Having more significant variety in construction teams means a more diverse set of ideas. This is beneficial when choosing the best ways to build inclusive cities. In the end, your client will be satisfied, and so will the end users.
Inscape works closely with your company to provide bespoke manufacturing services for your construction projects. This means the ideals of your client and team will be reflected in what we create for your building. For more information about our services, get in touch with us on 0845 230 8565.