Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

Designing for the Disabled: The New Paradigm

Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

Designing for the Disabled: The New Paradigm

Article excerpt

Designing for the Disabled: The New Paradigm, Selwyn Goldsmith, Oxford, Architectural Pressy 1997, xvi + 426 pp., £45.00

Designing for the Disabled explores aspects of the ambivalent and often estranged relationship of architecture with the human subject. As Moore and Bloomer (1977) argue, the human subject, or the user of buildings and the wider built environment, has often been reduced to a specific type or even ignored in architectural theories and practices. As Goldsmith notes, the most influential architectural theories and practices fail to recognise or acknowledge bodily and/or physiological diversity, and there is a tendency for architects and designers to design to specific standards and dimensions which revolve around a conception of the normal body. For most designers, this is based on classical conceptions of the fit and able body, the body as a machine, mechanical, fixed, taut, upright, masculine, and pre-given to interaction.

For Goldsmith, a new paradigm for planning for the access requirements of disabled people should be premised on 'access for all' regardless of people's contrasting physiological and/or mental impairments. …

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