Conference paper
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Beyond ‘mobility reductionism’: striking new paradigms for the wellbeing of Wheeled Mobility Device (WMD) users in the public realm

Disability awareness People with disability Urban planning Accessibility Melbourne

Disability activism over the years, the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2008 and the more recent signing of the United Nations (UN) Agenda 2030 underlie the paradigm shifts in Australian disability policy development. Historically, Wheeled Mobility Device (WMD) users faced regular exclusions in/from public spaces. Various laws, policies, and reforms now enable WMD users to access public spaces freely, yet they continue to deplore the anti-convivial nature of these spaces.

The presented paper is an exercise in reforming policy planning on disability and ensuring the participation of WMD users in communities. It is critical of the conventional placemaking approaches that focus solely on meeting mobility needs and are ‘mobility reductionist’. The term ‘inclusion’ forming the project’s backbone is analysed from various angles and connotations. The paper presents the author’s thematic ‘5Cs-model’ conceptualised around five constituents or ‘states-of-being’. Developed further with the participation of the WMD users and urban designers in digital ethnographic urban studies at Melbourne CBD (Australia), the 5Cs-model will have the capacity to inform planning policy development for the holistic wellbeing of people with disabilities, especially WMD users. The versatility of the model lies in its readiness for its wider applications and adaptability for contextual amendments, alterations, and fast transitioning shifts in disability paradigms in built environments.


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