Designing inclusive environments: rehabilitating the body and the relevance of universal design

Imrie, Rob and Luck, Rachael. 2014. Designing inclusive environments: rehabilitating the body and the relevance of universal design. Disability and Rehabilitation, 36(16), pp. 1315-1319. ISSN 0963-8288 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

We outline some of the key challenges relating to the development of universal design, and discuss how far it may be possible to realise its radical intent in seeking to overturn deep rooted designer conventions that rarely respond to the needs of disabled people and impaired bodies. We draw attention to the tensions between, on the one hand, the propagation of a universal design discourse that is challenging of design approaches that fail to respond to corporeal diversity, and, on the other hand, the incorporation of much universal design practice into conventional, conservative, design methodologies. Such methodologies, and their underlying epistemological bases, appear to delimit the understanding of person-hood to bodies-without-impairment, or cultural norms that define the universal subject in ways whereby disabled people are regarded as aberrations. This observation leads contributors to the special issue to interrogate how far, and in what ways, practitioners may be able to develop universal design not only as a “design strategy”, but as a political stratagem that has the potential to transform the dominant world view of universal ablebodiedness [.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR)


4 July 2014Published

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Date Deposited:

04 Jul 2014 08:41

Last Modified:

21 Apr 2021 13:23

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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