Beyond minimum standards

Urban landscape with shade trees and lots of casual seating with people sitting. Going beyond minimum standards.Why does the design of built environment continue to fail people with disability? Many have asked this question since Selwyn Goldsmith raised it in the 1960s. Many have found answers. But these are not enough to make a difference to the results. New buildings continue to pose barriers in spite of regulations and standards. Going beyond minimum standards is therefore a big ask. 

Imogen Howe, an architect with 10 years experience, wants to find the answer. Her proposed research aims to find out why the built environment continues to marginalise people with disability. Her specific PhD research questions are:

    • Why and how does the Australian built environment continue to marginalise people with disabilities, despite the Disability Discrimination Act (1992)?
    • How does building design reproduce exclusion and segregation? How is this underpinned by design assumptions and approaches both contemporary and historic?
    • Do building and design codes in Australia, NZ, Canada and the UK address dignity?
    • How do we educate becoming architects about the need for inclusive design and then how to enact it in their designs?

References are made to key thinkers and writers on the topic such as Amie Hamraie, C.W. Mills, Joss Boys and Michel Foucault. 

These questions are posed in an article framed as a discussion piece in Academia.edu. The key provocations for the discussion are: eugenics and stigma in design, society structures, and how could this be different. Imogen invites comment and ideas from readers. The title of the article is, “The need for inclusive design: going beyond the minimum standards in the built environment”.

This website has more than 100 research papers related to the built environment. Many have sought the same answers.