Accessibility and Design

Disability inclusion resources from around the world

Library > Subjects > Accessibility and Design

This page has curated news on Accessibility and Design. There are resources from 32 countries and regions, with a total of 76 links.

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Highlights

From International News:

Accessibility Toolkit from UNICEF. Focus on accessibility of physical spaces and built environment. The checklists look particularly helpful. (2022, UNICEF)

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. (2022, Aljazeera)

From Colombia:

Meet The Blind Birder Reimagining Accessibility In The Outdoors. See also part 2. (2023, Science Friday)

From South East Asia:

ASEAN countries continue to struggle with accessibility (2023, FairPlanet)

From the 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.” (2022, Alex Haagaard)

Resources by country:

Global

International News

Multiple-Stakeholder Perspectives on Accessibility Data and the Use of Socio-Technical Tools to Improve Sidewalk Accessibility (2023, Disabilities)

Chasing Rainbows: Designing for colorblindness. “Apparently, the very idea of colorblindness is hard to visualize. Take a shot at looking through my eyes.” (2023, The Verge)

Meghan Hussey on 4 ways to design a disability-friendly future (2022, 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.” (2022, Journal of Public Space)

Accessibility Toolkit from UNICEF. Focus on accessibility of physical spaces and built environment. The checklists look particularly helpful. (2022, 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. (2022, 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.

Global guide: Access for all Creating inclusive global built environments. (2022) See a summary of the contents on Fair Play Talks.

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. (2022, Aljazeera)

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. (2022)

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.' (2022, Alex Haagaard)

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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. (2022, Zero Project)

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Africa

Kenya

Inclusive Infrastructure Case Study of Nairobi. (2022, AT2030)

The nightmare of living with a disability in Nairobi, discusses accessibility and transport. (2022, The Standard)

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Nigeria

Nigeria ramps up efforts to improve accessibility of sustainable spaces. (2023, EnviroNews Nigeria)

Lagos: Life with a disability in the African megacity (2022, Aljazeera)

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South Africa

Forging a path to inclusive heritage and work by the District Six Museum. (2023, Daily Maverick)

Brief audio on How accessible is South Africa? (2022, EWN)

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Asia

India

Design crusaders foster accessibility NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards have spread awareness about universal design in the past 13 years. (2023, Sunday Guardian)

Centre overhauls accessibility mandate for disabled people, but uncertainty due to overlapping rules. “As multiple ministries work on specific rules, compliance and overlaps will be a challenge.” (2023, Scroll.in)

The daily struggles of Kashmir's Disabled Community in a World of Inaccessible Structures (2023, News Click)

India Has Made Progress in Improving Accessibility, But Needs To Up the Ante. (2023, The Wire)

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.” (2023, Indian Express)

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” (2022, Herald Goa)

Uncertainty over Accessible India Campaign deadline seven years of work to increase accessibility of government buildings, public transport and websites. (2022, The Hindu)

Mumbai: Living with a disability in the megacity (2022, Aljazeera)

Lessons from Chennai on accessibility for the disabled (2022, New Indian Express)

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Israel

Bnei Brak opens new accessible synagogue for disabled worshipers “Tailored with innovative features such as entrance and exit ramps, accessible elevators, a lowered Ark of the Covenant, the Accessible Synagogue sets a benchmark for religious inclusivity in Israel.” (2023, Jerusalem Post)

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Malaysia

This Malaysian Wants To Make KL Accessible For People With Disabilities IncluCity by NakSeni is an inclusive crowdsourced map for accessible, safe venues and spaces. (2023, Says)

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.” (2023, New Straits Times)

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Myanmar

Disability and Place of Living: Experiences of Accessibility, and Inequality in Four Regions:

“This paper finds that people with disabilities lead more independent lives, were better supported in carrying out day-to-day activities, and had more accessible services and spaces in Yangon than in peripheries. Two notable findings are: (1) accessibility is not just infrastructural, but also attitudinal, more enabling in Yangon than peripheries, and (2) people with disabilities who live in peripheries feel “home-incarcerated” due to infrastructural exclusions experienced in those areas.” (2023, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research)

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Philippines

The Accessibility Law: 40 years of disappointment (2022, The Manilla Times)

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Singapore

Better accessibility for persons with disabilities set out in Enabling Masterplan for 2030. (2022, Channel News Asia)

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Türkiye

How 'Accessible Everything' makes changes (2023, Daily Sabah)

Guide dogs change lives of Türkiye’s visually impaired citizens. (2022, Daily Sabah)

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United Arab Emirates

Dubai buildings must now have ‘Wosool seal’ certifying accessibility for people of determination, a prerequisite for new building completion certificates. (2023, Gulf News)

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Uzbekistan

How accessible are public services to disabled people in Tashkent city? Monitoring visits and photographs. (May, Dilmurad Yusupov)

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Yemen

Mainstreaming Universal Accessibility in Urban Infrastructure Projects: Engagement Approach, Process, and Results (May, World Bank)

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Europe

Europe

23 Member States are running late with the European Accessibility Act. (2022, EDF)

AccessibleEU centre: a first step towards an EU agency on accessibility. (2022, EDF)

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

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Albania

Short video on accessibility to infrastructure, public services and information for persons with disabilities. (2022, Down Syndrome Albania)

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France

Paris Promised the Olympics Would Be Accessible. “The city, which put inclusivity at the center of its bid, has improved access for people with disabilities, but with the opening ceremony about 12 weeks away, obstacles remain.” (May, New York Times)

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Iceland

Access all areas: Meet the man building a thousand wheelchair ramps. (2023, Euronews)

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Netherlands

The Netherlands is still lagging behind in accessibility for wheelchairs. (2023, NL Times)

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Spain

Spain's San Cristóbal wins EU Access City Award 2024 “For example, all vehicles and all stations of the city’s tram network are fully accessible, and the city centre has acoustic traffic lights and tactile paving to guide visually impaired people.” (2023, Disability Insider)

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.” (2022, BBC)

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United Kingdom

Accessibility of products and services to disabled people a government report. (Mar, UK Parliament)

Stop trying to recruit unicorns with acorns. Incisive description of how accessibility roles are undervalued, underfunded, and incorrectly designed:

“I've seen it time and time again. People hire an accessibility specialist because it's a hot topic and it's always good publicity. But then they just leave that person to drown in an environment and an organisation where they are not supported.” (Jan, Craig Abbott)

Choice is not an option The experiences of people with dwarfism using self-service technology. (2023, Alter)

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North America

Canada

Mapping Our Cities For All A Research Study on City Accessibility from the Perspective of People with Disabilities:

“nearly 60% of mapped buildings in each major city remain in the Not Accessible or Partially Accessible category.” (Jan, Access Now)

Ontario's accessibility legislation is failing. Advocates say lack of enforcement, complaints process to blame. (Jan, CBC News)

Living with a spinal CSF Leak: making your home more accessible a detailed feature by Jodi Ettenberg on her accessibility modifications. (2023, Jodi Ettenberg)

Vancouver wants to be the most accessible city in the world. The city staff told them it would be very expensive. (2023, Vancouver is Awesome)

New project tackles accessibility of heritage buildings (2021, Remi Network)

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Jamaica

Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) has launched the Accessibility Checklist “which is designed to identify architectural and communication barriers encountered by persons with disabilities in private and public facilities.” (2023, Jamaica Information Service)

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Nicaragua

Request for free movement of disabled people. Sidewalks and public spaces occupied by some businesses are making transit difficult. (In Spanish, Jan, El Canal del Orgullo Nicaragüense)

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United States

Philadelphia is the country’s first “sensory-inclusive city.” What does that mean for people with other disabilities? (2023, Philadelphia Inquirer)

The Future of Design Is Designing for Disability Accessibility should not be a grudging afterthought. With planning, it can lead to elegant, beautiful, and engaging art. “Accessibility should include something beyond accommodation and into a source of inspiration, a driver of creativity, and even something playful and fun.” (2023, The Nation)

Accessibility lawsuits bring slow wins for disabled city residents “Lawsuits over inaccessible sidewalks, transit, libraries, and other public infrastructure are costing cities millions. But for disabled people of color, they may be the only route to equity” (2023, Prism)

How to Make Your Home Accessible Tap into the resources available from states, nonprofits, developers and housing groups to make spaces work for families of all abilities. (2023, The New York Times)

New York City Sues Queens Library Architects Over Lack of Accessibility City officials argued that the building was not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act and other laws. (2023, New York Times)

One Way to a Better City: Ask Disabled People to Design It. David Gissen on Designing Cities for Disability (2023, Curbed)

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.” (2022, Alex Haagaard)

Why Do People With Disabilities Have to Sue To Get Accessible Sidewalks? (2022, Streetsblog USA)

More than 30 years after ADA, cities fail to be accessible (2022, ABC 15)

‘Where the bats hung out’: How a basement hideaway at UC Berkeley nurtured a generation of blind innovators (2022, Stat)

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.” (2022, Aljazeera)

Accessible NYC A summary of what the city authorities are doing for accessibility and inclusion. (links to pdf, 2022, NYC)

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Oceania

Australia

What's 'biophilic design'? Biophilic design ”incorporates natural elements into the built environment, which can benefit neurodiverse users.” (Apr, World Economic Forum)

How accessible is Melbourne for people with a disability? (2022, The Age)

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New Zealand

The endless hunt, and fight for accessible home appliances. (2023, Blind Citizens NZ)

Government won't enforce accessibility, despite promising legislation to 'make NZ more accessible'. (2022, Stuff)

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South America

Colombia

Meet The Blind Birder Reimagining Accessibility In The Outdoors. See also part 2. (2023, Science Friday)

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