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Disability and the City

Disability and the City
International Perspectives

  • Rob Imrie - Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

May 1996 | 208 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
People with disabilities are one of the poorest groups in Western societies. In particular, they lack power, education and opportunities. For most disabled people, their daily reality is dependence on a carer, while trying to survive on state welfare payments. The dominant societal stereotype of disability as a 'pitiful' state reinforces the view that people with disabilities are somehow 'less than human'. In taking exception to these, and related, conceptions of disability, this book explores one of the crucial contexts within which the marginal status of disabled people is experienced: the interrelationships between disability, physical access, and the built environment. The author seeks to

explore some of the critical processes underpinning the social construction and production of disability as a state of marginalization and oppression in the built environment. These concerns are interwoven with a discussion of the changing role of the state in defining, categorising, and (re)producing 'states of disablement' for people with disabilities.

Focusing primarily on the United Kingdom, although with a substantial discussion of disability and access issues in the USA, the book also considers the role of the 'design professionals', architects, planners, and building control officers, in the construction of specific spaces and places, which, literally, lock people with disabilities 'out'. From the shattered paving stones along the high street, to the absence of induction loops in a civic building, people with disabilities daily negotiate through hostile environments. Using a range of empirical material, the book documents how the environmental planning system in the United Kingdom is attempting to address the inaccessible nature of the built environment for people with disabilities, while discussing how disabled people are contesting the constraints placed upon their mobility.

The book draws on a range of ideas from geography, sociology, and environmental planning and reflects the emergent interest in planning schools with equal opportunity issues and planning for minority groups. It will be relevant to final year geography, planning, and architecture courses and postgraduate planning courses.

Disability and the City
An Overview

Theorising Disability and the Environment
State Policy and the (Re)Production of Disability
Designing Disabling Environments
Creating Accessible Environments
Institutional Mediation and Planning for Accessibility
‘We’re not the same as You’
Diversity, Difference, and the Politics of Access

Beyond Disabling Environments

`...a coherent , and very readable discussion of the different theoretical approaches to understanding disability, attitudes to the disabled, and disabling environments which prevail in Western societies.

....This book should go a long way towards helping to educate us as to the enormity of the injustice which needs to be addressed...

....This is a book which breaks new ground. It is written with a commendable clarity of style and is organised in such a way that students will find it readily accessible and academically digestible' - Housing Studies

`This is an important book for all who are concerned about the way our daily environments are made, used and abused' - Environment and Society

`This book provides a much-needed and well-researched contribution to the study of disability in an urban context which will be of interest to geographers, environmental planners and sociologists' - Urban Studies

`[I'd] like to commend Rob Imrie’s new book Disability and the City, for its scholarly merit and emancipatory potential. Indeed, one key strength of Imrie’s analysis is the attention given to the "colonial tendency", the potential of academic enquiry to enrich the researcher whilst leaving research subjects no better off, or even impoverished, in political and material terms. The appearance of Disability and the City represents an important moment for the discipline, being the first major geographic analysis of disability in published form' - Brendan Gleeson, The

Australian National University

`A hard hitting, political and challenging text which - and effectively so - takes issue with the marginalisation and oppression of disabled people in respect of leisure and employment' - Adapt Newsletter

`This book should be compulsory reading for any geographer or planner with an interest in disability or access issues' - Environment and Planning B

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ISBN: 9781853962738