An Inquiry Into the Necessity of Participation of People with Disabilities in Architecture

Karayama, Hatice Tuğba
In the second half of the 20th century, disability rights advocates criticized society and authorities for considering disability as personal misfortune and inferiority and for not taking any responsibility for the struggle of people with disabilities. Those critiques developed a new perspective, the Social Model of Disability, affecting disability studies, rights, and policies. The Social Model defined disability as the outcome of the interaction between a person with impairment and the social and built environment. This definition supported that the inequalities in reaching opportunities, being prevented from participating in society, and the lack of representation constructed the negative image of the disabled identity. Moreover, the continuance of the existing organization reinforced the given identities and resulted in ignorance rooted in society toward disability rights. Therefore, the social model claims that disability is a socio-political concern and aims to change the role of people with impairments from dependent patients to active members of society who define the disability, the disabling barriers, and the wishes of disabled people. However, a limited number of participants represent people with disabilities in all fragments of society, including the architectural profession. With the ideas that (a) architectural knowledge is developed with experience-based progress and (b) the problems in achieving barrier-free design may be caused by the lack of diversity in the profession, this study aims to discuss the possibility that people with various bodily experiences may contribute to architecture in making a shift towards designing enabling environments for all. Therefore, a contextual inquiry was conducted to find the parallelisms and connections between different pieces of literature concerning disability, society, and architecture. Lastly, those relations were visualized with the mapping technique.


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Citation Formats
H. T. Karayama, “An Inquiry Into the Necessity of Participation of People with Disabilities in Architecture,” M.Arch. - Master of Architecture, Middle East Technical University, 2022.