Planning for a universally designed environment

The case of Japan

Japan bus accessRob Imrie and Kim Kullman from Goldsmiths, University of London present their findings from a recent study tour in three major cities: Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka. They also spoke to more than 25 officials working in planning, transport and housing as well as individuals representing disability advocacy organisations and industry groups.  This paper focuses on transportation and is supported by illustrative photos. 

Japan leads the world in having the most rapidly ageing population. While the principles of universal design are recognised, particularly in new developments, they are not mandatory and do not cover existing buildings and infrastructure.

Japan is home to the International Association for Universal Design which was established by a network of major manufacturing companies. However, it seems that Rob Imrie and Kim Kullman have found that inclusion is not comprehensively embraced in Japan.