Accessibility is becoming more and more of a topic of conversation lately, one of the main targets being the lack of accessibility for disabled people in everyday life. Few or no ramps, elevator malfunctions making whole buildings off-limits to certain people, and unfriendly sensory environments make whole swathes of society a bad place to be if you’re disabled. The only way to change this is by choice, so here are three arguments for a person who is in design to build more accessible structures.
Create a More Equal Society
For anyone with even a cursory commitment to leaving positive change behind in the world, striving for accessibility in design is one of the best ways construction and architecture jobs can do it. Accessibility features exist to help level the playing field for disabled people. You wouldn’t expect someone in a wheelchair to climb ten stories’ worth of stairs, yet no one really pays any mind to the requirements for elevators, ramps and similar accessibility structures. What’s worse, these features are often limited, forcing people to compete over resources, oftentimes with individuals who don’t actually need them and just enjoy the convenience, such as abled people using a limited number of elevators and forcing others out. Without actively thinking about these things during design, society will remain fundamentally unequal.
It’s the Law
Perhaps the most convincing argument for accessible design is that, in the simplest terms, it’s the law. Public structures are required to have certain accessibility features and considerations or face various consequences. Even so, many places neglect even this bare minimum. Take it as a personal challenge to surpass this extremely low bar if you have to, but work accessibility into your designs for the sake of not being hit with fines.
How to Make Commercial Designs More Accessible
Like with most things, the people who are actually affected by an issue usually have a pretty good idea or some suggestions on how to solve it. In that spirit, it’s crucial to consult with disabled people when you plan accessible structures. Consulting someone who is actually wheelchair-bound can be incredibly helpful because they can point out potential problems that you wouldn’t spot otherwise. Getting the opinions of individuals who use canes or crutches about building layout is also important. After all, it would be an incredible waste of time and resources to get to the construction stage only to realize that everything you’ve planned just isn’t feasible in reality.
Not being able to get somewhere just because you’re disabled can be a frustrating situation for many people. There are a lot of ways accessibility can be improved in society to make it a more friendly place. Consider these three points the next time you’re drafting or designing structures.