These four words, planning, diversity, inequity and justice all belong in the same sentence. Being excluded from places and spaces means walking, public transport, work, education, and seeing friends are out of reach. But good design can fix it.
The way we plan and design for human diversity requires serious rethinking if we genuinely want to address inequity and injustices in our suburbs and cities.
Image from the inclusive communities workshop.
Lisa Stafford is a planner and researcher and she urges the planning fraternity to be change agents. Her short article in Urbanet neatly spells out the reasons why and what needs to change. Stafford is leading a research project with people aged 9 to 92 years to identify the details of the changes we need.
The changes needed
To address the injustices we must adapt and retrofit our suburbs and cities for sustainable inclusive futures. People with disability have a right to access everyday spaces, housing, transport and social infrastructure.
Stafford’s article discusses changing the narrative and confronting ableism and adopting inclusive urban governance. Treating people with disability as equals in planning processes requires a universal design approach. Stafford points out that the New Urban Agenda and SDG 11 are about disability justice. Adopting inclusive urban governance, planning, and leadership are a good start.
Stafford concludes the article with a call to action:
“Planning for equity and inclusion is an essential approach. We simply will not have sustainable suburbs and cities if they are not inclusive and just. The message for our profession is simple – we must do better. Be a change agent by considering your ways of working and what it means to plan better for equity and inclusion.”
The title of the article is, Celebrating Human Diversity – Urban Planning for Disability Equity and Inclusion.
Diversity is more than disability and urban planners also have to consider many other groups including gender, ages, and cultural background. This is the era of intersectionality – we can be more than one identity.