No Person Left Behind: Truly Inclusive Design

People with limited abilities are often "designed out" of places, events, and activities. Three decades after adoption of the ADA, the COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the need for planning for inclusion and equitable access and accepting the challenges of safely separating users and uses. COVID’s silver lining may be renewed emphasis on safer pedestrian travel, transit, and more open outdoor-recreation spaces. Mobility remains a sometimes-insurmountable challenge for people with disabilities. Scooters, bikes, and utilities often block wheelchair users and trip blind people. Transit access depends on compliant sidewalks with clear paths to accessible stops. Ride-share, mobility, and other first mile/last mile “solutions” are not accessible to wheelchair users and many other disabled folks. There are always challenges to providing elegant designs that retrofit existing and historic buildings and sites. Often, the only (inequitable) solutions offered put accessibility features in the back. After thirty years of halfway accessibility solutions, it is time for planners to address equity and inclusion challenges.

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe common problems related to providing universal accessibility and designs that offer equitable solutions.
  • Provide examples of elegant, efficient, and accessible designs that beautifully their contexts.
  • Build awareness of inadequate accessible design and the need for equitable access solutions.

The NPC Peer Reviewers assigned this presentation a learning level of Advanced. For more on learning level descriptions visit our General Information Page.