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      Accessibility and Conservation in Contemporary Cities: A(n) (Im)possible Coupling

      Architecture_MPS

      UCL Press

      disability, accessibility, built environment, old cities

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          Abstract

          Cities are built by and for able-bodied people and are often composed of a range of elements that make them partially (or not) accessible to disabled people. Architectural barriers within and around buildings can limit disabled people’s access to structures and services, precluding their full participation in a social life. It is not possible to talk about making further social progress until disabled people are no longer victims of marginalisation caused by our urban architecture. In order to identify some specific problems and possible solutions, a qualitative research study was carried out in a city in northern Italy, involving people with sensory and physical impairments. Findings indicate that cities in general, and the oldest ones in particular, can present an important problem: some historic centres and buildings are not (or cannot be) restored to become more accessible.

          This lack of accessibility will increase the exclusion of disabled people by imposing limitations and restrictions, from mobilising around urban centres, to use of pavements, entry into shops or workplaces, through to accessing treatment and health services. Moreover, this research demonstrates that, in many cases, relatively inexpensive and simple measures and arrangements might be enough to help tackle and solve many of these problems. This paper argues that a first, fundamental step in looking to improve access should be to involve disabled people in participatory planning. These users will be the best experts of their own needs and some of the best informed about the attributes and particularities of any alterations or adaptations needed to help them negotiate, manage and plan the areas in which they live.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Constructions and Creations: Idealism, materialism and disability theory

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            Development of the Scottish Walkability Assessment Tool (SWAT).

            The Scottish Walkability Assessment Tool (SWAT) was designed to objectively record aspects of the physical environment believed to be related to walking in urban Scotland. Reliability was assessed by three pairs of trained raters auditing 30 street segments on two occasions. Eighteen items were reliably audited and displayed adequate environmental variability, 25 items proved unreliable, and 69 items lacked adequate environmental variability. The large number of items that lacked environmental variability indicates a relatively uniform environment in terms of characteristics, which the literature indicates might be used to differentiate walkability; however, the 18 reliable items can potentially be used to differentiate walkability.
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              Disability and the Open City

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Guest Editor
                Journal
                Archit_MPS
                Architecture_MPS
                UCL Press
                2050-9006
                01 November 2019
                : 16
                : 1
                Affiliations
                University of the West of England, UK
                Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento, Italy; albertina.pretto@ 123456unitn.it
                Article
                Archit_MPS-16-3
                10.14324/111.444.amps.2019v16i1.003
                © 2019, Albertina Pretto.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited • DOI: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.amps.2019v16i1.003.

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                Pages: 13
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                Pretto, A. ‘Accessibility and Conservation in Contemporary Cities: A(n) (Im)possible Coupling.’ Architecture_MPS 16, 1 (2019): 3. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.amps.2019v16i1.003.

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