Global Accessibility Awareness Day: Spotlight on the Inclusive Public Space Project

The Inclusive Public Space (IPS) Project focuses on the accessibility of town and city streets.

The project is concerned with law’s role both in creating and in tackling the exclusion caused by a range of access barriers, particularly to disabled and older pedestrians, and to parents who negotiate streets with small children (perhaps in pushchairs). It also aims to raise awareness of how streets can be made more inclusive, promote solidarity, and push issues relating to the accessibility of streetscapes up political agendas.

Accessibility is a cross-cutting obligation in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and embedded within relevant Sustainable Development Goals. Nevertheless, serious implementation challenges exist in countries around the globe.

The project shines a light on these challenges, together with examples of good practice, in India, Kenya, the Netherlands, the US, and the UK.

The Principal Investigator, Professor Anna Lawson says:

This is a decade of rapid change in street design. Although everybody recognises the importance of accessibility in principle, all too often changes introduce new accessibility barriers, rather than remove existing ones. More clearly needs to be done, in law, policy, and practice, to make sure that disabled and older people don’t get squeezed out of our pedestrian spaces.

In its sixth and final year, the IPS project is nearing completion. As well as academic writing ventures (including a monograph), members of the team are busy with dissemination activities in project countries and internationally.

The final project conference will be held in Leeds on 16 and 17 September – to which all are welcome! This will include opportunities to view documentary and virtual reality films made as part of the project, including in the pedestrian simulator situated on campus.

Principal Investigator:  Professor Anna Lawson

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Dr Maria Orchard

Project Manager: Dr Charlotte Elliott-Harvey

Research Assistants: Dr Naomi Jacobs, Sofia Raseta, Lewis Lockwood.

The Project is funded by a European Research Council Advanced Grant (Agreement No 787258).

The project can be found on X/Twitter: @IPS_Leeds