In the paper I suggest that the inaccessible nature of the designed environment is an infringement of many people’s liberties and implicated in (re) producing different forms of inequality. The rise of universal design promises to offer new ways of redesigning environments that can enable people to function in ways whereby they are less dependent on others for their mobility and movement. In this talk, I outline what the main challenges are to creating objects and spaces that are sensitised to the diverse bodily needs of people, and question how far universal design is able to be in the vanguard of designing equitable environments. In doing so, I highlight the limits to redesigning spaces and places by recourses to the principles and practices of universal design.
Rob Imrie gave this key note address at the launch of the IDEaR Centre, King Mongkut Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), January 15th 2016.