Construction of and Negotiating with Disabling Built Environment

Studying built environment of disabled people is necessary to understand the ways society where it located perceives and treats disability. In this chapter understanding of two main issues are outlined: disability and access in the built environment for disabled people. Disability issue is explored through social constructionist approach. Disability is produced and reproduced through socio-cultural, political and economical process surrounded it. The built environment considerably is a key resulting element of such production. This chapter is divided into seven sections and a conclusion which the conceptual definition is converted to the operational. Understanding of disability has been discussed in three main approaches: individual, social and post modernist approach which disability is understood that interrelates and depends on socio-cultural element surrounded it.

The interrelation model of disability renders on various dimensions of bodies with impairments as well as social movement of disabled people. It further places more attention on roles of disabled individual and group rather than of the state authority or policy. Impairment and disability unnecessarily is the mere personal but the political. This idea connects with the inclusive built environment which argues the modernist architectural concept that built environment should serve the diversity of peopleโ€™s requirements. In addition, the built environment in this perspective can be understood as socio-cultural, political, and socioeconomic product rather than materialist aesthetic orientation. In major parts, inaccessible built environment creates oppressive reality to impaired bodies. The strategies to resist, overcome, and change those social and physical barriers can be seen through actions against oppressive elements in resistance theory. In this regards, it is important to politicise access issue. The key elements include both at macro and micro socio-political level: individually practice of space in society, or collectively participate in social movement to turn the issue in responding to their access requirement.

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By: Ms. Antika Sawadsri
When: 7/2/2014

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