People with disability design accessible city of the future

Four participants of the urban planning sessions discussing accessible urban design

People with disability were recently involved in an innovative project run by APM Communities which had accessible urban design at its heart.

A group comprised of families, people with disability or those from diverse backgrounds gave feedback, shared ideas, and designed community spaces to highlight how a modern city can be accessible for all.

“The discussion related to communities being accessible and inclusive for people with disability, “said APM Communities Service Area Manager Simon Kincart.

APM Communities works with people with disability, carers and supporting family members.

Teams work with local businesses and community organisations, by providing tailored support to help them improve inclusion for people with disability.

APM Communities team member Adam Johnson had already prepared a report for the City of Bunbury detailing key points contributing to urban accessibility. His research was referred to for the program.

“The benefits of being a national team means that we can draw on expertise across the portfolio,” Simon said.

Two sessions have been held to date and have involved discussion, surveys and a fun, interactive activity building models of a truly accessible CBD. More sessions will be held this year.

Three participants in the urban planning sessions discussing the an urban planning diorama

He said group members were representative of all the diverse facets of a community giving an important voice to the varying needs of different people.

Simon said the group demonstrated how important it was to get genuine perspective from people with disability who were able to give an accurate representation of barriers faced in the community daily.

“There were many points such as people who are vision impaired find it increasingly difficult to navigate crossings near roundabouts.”

A close up of one of the urban dioramas constructed by the focus group

People who were unable to attend on the two nights were given the option of completing surveys remotely or attending smaller, targeted groups.

Feedback from people with disability reflected a desire to be involved in important planning in their local area so that everybody regardless of ability could experience the benefits.

The group was described as “empowering” and “a voice for everyone” while one person said they felt good “doing something important for the community”.

Simon said the APM Communities team involved in the project were impressed by the effort and ideas from all contributors.

“The passion from everyone was infectious,” Simon said.

As part of the NDIS Partners in the Community program, APM Communities help people with disability in several regions in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory to access support.

Our Local Area Coordinators (LACs) help people with disability, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, families and carers to identify and access the support they need.