Accessibility and Design

This page features disability news on Accessibility and Design from the Debrief Library. See also news on other subjects.



Meghan Hussey on 4 ways to design a disability-friendly future (Oct, TED Talk)

Co-creating Inclusive Public Spaces: Learnings from Four Global Case Studies on inclusive Cities. “Many public spaces are not regulated by conventional building standards, especially when constructed or formed within informal settlements or within privately-owned spaces. This requires broader advocacy and education to ensure clients and built environment practitioners uphold inclusive design standards in their work.” (Jun, Journal of Public Space)

UNICEF Accessibility Toolkit. Focus on accessibility of physical spaces and built environment. The checklists look particularly helpful. (May, UNICEF)

The World Bank Technical Note on Accessibility a big resource providing strategic directions, guidance for the project cycle, thematic briefs and technical references. Thematic areas include WASH, ICT, Transportation, Urban Sector and Operations. Further, if you need accessibility standards for built environments, the technical references part of the guide looks like a good reference. (Apr, World Bank) The primary audience for this is World Bank teams. Given the range and significance of the projects they fund, this is a useful resource that is trying to leverage the Bank's role to help countries take more substantial accessibility actions within those projects.

An interactive feature on Inaccessible Cities featuring disabled people, their lives, and the urban infrastructure that gets in their way, in New York, Lagos and Mumbai. (Mar, Aljazeera)

Global guide: Access for all Creating inclusive global built environments. (Mar) See a summary of the contents on Fair Play Talks.

The Against List. Reflections for designers to engage with disability, and questions to ask to avoid this dynamic:

'We have realized that advocating for “more disabled people in design” without advocating structural changes to what design is, how it operates, and what problems it seeks to solve is just advocating for a select few people to gain more power within an unjust system, while allowing the marginalization of others by that system to become more entrenched.' (Feb, Alex Haagaard)

The Zero Project 2022 Conference on Accessibility was held in Vienna and online. As well as the talks, including one by yours truly, see the 2022 report which describes the innovative practices and much more. (Feb)


Assistive Technology Innovate Now launch of its 5th Cohort on Digital AT and Entrepreneurship (April, AT Innovate Now)


Short video on accessibility to infrastructure, public services and information for persons with disabilities. (Mar, Down Syndrome Albania)


Meet The Blind Birder Reimagining Accessibility In The Outdoors (Jan, Science Friday)


AccessibleEU centre: a first step towards an EU agency on accessibility. (Jul, EDF)

23 Member States are running late with the European Accessibility Act. (Jul, EDF)

The European Accessibility Act: came into effect in 2019 and “Member states must pass the necessary implementation laws by June 28, 2022” (May, Forbes)


Access all areas: Meet the man building a thousand wheelchair ramps. (Feb, Euronews)


Disabled-friendly buildings rendered inaccessible: “Even as the government creates infrastructure for the differently-abled, the same is not being maintained or kept accessible to them” (Dec, Herald Goa)

Disability rights activist and doctor highlights unusable infrastructure in public places – “ramps made at many public properties are poorly made or inaccessible for disabled people.” (Jan, Indian Express)

Uncertainty over Accessible India Campaign deadline seven years of work to increase accessibility of government buildings, public transport and websites. (Jun, The Hindu)

Mumbai: Living with a disability in the megacity (Mar, Aljazeera)


Inclusive Infrastructure Case Study of Nairobi. (Nov, AT2030)

The nightmare of living with a disability in Nairobi, discusses accessibility and transport. (Sep, The Standard)

Latin America and the Caribbean

The Zero Project Latin America conference on Accessibility and ICT was held on 25th/26th May and sessions can be watched online. (May, Zero Project)


Poor disabled-friendly facilities a bane for handicapped persons in Kedah. “I am unable to visit wet markets, grocery stores, hospitals, clinics, shops, restaurants, cafés, books stores and ATMs, when I'm in my wheelchair.” (Mar, New Straits Times)


The Netherlands is still lagging behind in accessibility for wheelchairs. (Mar, NL Times)

New Zealand

Government won't enforce accessibility, despite promising legislation to 'make NZ more accessible'. (Jul, Stuff)


Nigeria ramps up efforts to improve accessibility of sustainable spaces. (Mar, EnviroNews Nigeria)


The Accessibility Law: 40 years of disappointment (Nov, The Manilla Times)


Better accessibility for persons with disabilities set out in Enabling Masterplan for 2030. (Aug, Channel News Asia)

South Africa

Brief audio on How accessible is South Africa? (May, EWN)


Meet the designers with learning disabilities: “La Casa de Carlota is a successful design agency in Barcelona. Their striking visual style comes from their designers, who have learning disabilities, autism and schizophrenia.” (Oct, BBC)


Guide dogs change lives of Türkiye’s visually impaired citizens. (Dec, Daily Sabah)

United States

10 Ways Designers and Researchers Can Meaningfully Engage With Disabled People in 2023. Includes designing against ableism: “When I say Design Against, I mean: whatever social issue or group you want to design for, identify the structural factors that are really, materially shaping those problems and design against those instead.” (Dec, Alex Haagaard)

Why Do People With Disabilities Have to Sue To Get Accessible Sidewalks? (Nov, Streetsblog USA)

More than 30 years after ADA, cities fail to be accessible (Jun, ABC 15)

New York: What is the megacity like for people with disabilities? “New York City, one of the world’s largest and most diverse cities, is considered by some to be one of the least accessible in the United States when it comes to public transportation.” (Mar, Aljazeera)

‘Where the bats hung out’: How a basement hideaway at UC Berkeley nurtured a generation of blind innovators (Mar, Stat)

Accessible NYC A summary of what the city authorities are doing for accessibility and inclusion. (links to pdf, NYC)



Lawsuit Uncovers Chicago’s Failure to Provide Disability Protections in Housing. “Advocates say people with disabilities are suffering the worst consequences of the U.S.’s affordable housing crisis.” (Feb, Truthout)


Uneven path to a decent home: Australians with a disability face battle for accessible housing. (Oct, the Guardian)

One-size-fits-all model of accessible housing ‘a disaster’ for Australians with disability. “There should be an option for us to stay together as a family and not be forced to relinquish care just because we don’t have the funds to build an accessible house.” (May, the Guardian)


Woman with disabilities nears medically assisted death after a fruitless bid to secure an affordable apartment that doesn't worsen her chronic illnesses. (May, CTV News)

This Ontario family has spent years looking for wheelchair accessible housing. “These parents carry their eight-year-old son up and down stairs everyday with no end in sight.” (May, Toronto Star)

Court Case on whether appopriate housing is a human right for people with disabilities Nova Scotia government argues that it isn't and they have the right to define the quality of social serices people receive, not the court. (Jan, Halifax City News)


Accessible homes for disabled Indians is not a favour, it’s an obligation (Sep, The Print)

New Zealand

Another month, another report on disabled people's housing “but is the government listening?” (Jun, RNZ News)

United Kingdom

Outrage as ministers reject post-Grenfell safety plans for disabled people “Personal fire evacuation plans were in public inquiry’s proposals, which ministers had said they would ‘accept in full’” (May, the Guardian) See further detail on inside housing.

United States

Designing for Disabilities: How to Pair Luxury With Access (Dec, House Beautiful)

Biden Administration Releases Millions For Disability Housing. (Aug, Disability Scoop)