Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Accessible and Inclusive Cities: Exposing Design and Leadership Challenges for Bunbury and Geelong

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Abstract:  This article compares research identifying the systemic barriers to disability access and inclusion in two regional Australian cities, and discusses some of the leadership and design challenges that will need to be addressed by government and industry to embed universal design principles within the planning, development, and redevelopment of urban infrastructure. In Geelong, Victoria, given the often-opaque decision-making dynamics at play in the urban planning and development of cities, the disability community sought a more holistic and consultative approach to addressing access and inclusion. Systems-thinking for a collective impact approach was used to generate recommendations for action around improving universal design regulations, community attitudes to disability, access to information, accessible housing, partnerships, and disability employment. At Bunbury, Western Australia, a similar project analysed systemic factors affecting universal design at a local government level, and recommended a suite of safeguards for universal design including staff training, policies and procedures, best practice benchmarks, technical support and engagement in co-design. We describe the process followed in both studies to identify how, through collaborative and action-oriented research methods, the studies identified key technical, cultural, political, and structural changes required to achieve equitable access and inclusion in the urban landscape.

Keywords:  accessible cities; Australia; Bunbury; co-design; disability; Geelong; inclusion; inclusive design; participatory action research; universal design



© Adam Johnson, Richard Tucker, Hing-Wah Chau, Elmira Jamei. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.