Public toilets by universal design

A row of handbasins in a public toilet.We all have to go sometime. Accessible public toilets have their own Australian Standard. It spells out how to design it and what fittings go where. But an accessible toilet doesn’t solve all our toileting issues. It’s time take a universal design approach and re-think the business of public toilets. That’s what Katherine Webber will be discussing at the upcoming Universal Design Conference.

Thinking more broadly than people with limited mobility is important if we are to be inclusive. Katherine Webber’s Conference paper explains where the design of public toilets are letting some people down. She discusses the taboos, policy and legal barriers in several countries. Katherine lists the many issues people found with public toilets and they go beyond those of wheelchair accessible toilets. She proposes that a universal design approach be taken to the design and placement of public toilets. 

Katherine recently visited Canberra to talk to policy makers how our public toilets should better. ABC News has written a short piece on her visit and some of the findings from her Churchill Fellowship research. 

The title of Katherine’s paper is, Everyone, everywhere, everyday: A case for expanding universal design to public toilets. She will also lead a discussion group at the lunchtime Table Topics session at the conference.

You can find more peer reviewed papers from the upcoming conference in Melbourne  17-18 May 2021 on the Griffith University website 

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