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Public policies call for inclusive access. This means everyone, regardless of age, physical ability, social background and so on, should be able to get to and use places and the services within them, conveniently and with dignity. It relates to the requirements of The Disability Discrimination Act but inclusion should go a lot further than this.

Click here to access our lesson on Social policy objectives

Inclusive access

Thinking used to focus on the physical conditions of individuals and access for those with disabilities. This 'medical model of disability' took the perspective that the person has the problem and ‘disabled’ themselves because of their situation. Today however inclusive access is thought of rather differently, using a social model which turns things around and says that it is not the person who has disabled him or her self, it is the environment which disables them because it does not meet their needs.

Click here to access our lesson on Quality audits for highways schemes

Individual elements (The)

Places, like most things, are made up of lots of different elements or component parts. These vary in size and permanency – for example a river running through a town is a large and lasting part of the structure (and is not going to vanish!), but shop name boards in the high street are small features that might change every year or so.

Click here to access our lesson on The individual elements

Involve and evaluate

Talk to people about what they think the local context is. Include as many people who might have an interest as is practical, from the local planning officer to community groups to people who can advice you on natural habitats and flooding risk in the area.


So you've gathered lots of information. In some ways, that’s the easy bit! Now you have to evaluate what you have found out and use that information to inform your design.

Click here to access our lesson on Design process