Accessibility-Oriented Urban Design

Authored by: Susan Handy

The New Companion to Urban Design

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138302129
eBook ISBN: 9780203731932
Adobe ISBN:


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Cities exist because they provide a higher overall opportunity for interactions of all sorts, for both businesses and residents. This quality, known as “accessibility,” is shaped over time by public and private countless actions. Sometimes these actions work to enhance accessibility, sometimes to hinder it. Of particular importance are the land use and transportation planning processes that represent urban design in its broadest sense. If the goal of design is accessibility, the age-old dilemma of form versus function becomes moot: designing for accessibility is foremost about function, but function is not independent of form. The goal of this chapter is to contemplate what it means to design for accessibility. I first define accessibility and its dimensions, then outline the ways in which urban design contributes to accessibility, present an example of accessibility-oriented design, and consider what the future holds for accessibility. Design in the broadest sense is essential for preserving accessibility – and thus cities – in the future.

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