Urban accessibility issues: Techno-scientific democratizations at the documentation interface

Tomás Sánchez Criado, Marcos Cereceda Otárola

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. After many struggles from disability rights and independent-living advocates, urban accessibility has gradually become a concern for many urban planners across post-industrial countries. In this paper, based on ethnographic fieldwork studies in Barcelona working with urban accessibility professionals and activists, we argue for the importance of the ‘documentation interfaces’ created in their struggles: that is, the relational processes to collaboratively build multi-media accounts in a diversity of formats seeking to enforce different translations of bodily needs into specific urban accessibility arrangements. In discussion with the asymmetries that the ongoing expertization of accessibility might be opening up, we would like to foreground these apparently irrelevant practices as an interesting site to reflect on how urban accessibility struggles might allow us to rethink the project of technical democracy and its applications to urban issues. Two cases are analyzed: (1) the creation of Streets for All, a platform to contest and to sensitize technicians and citizens alike of the problems of ‘shared streets’ for the blind and partially sighted led by the Catalan Association for the Blind; and (2) the organization of the Tinkerthon, a DIY and open-source hardware workshop boosted by En torno a la silla to facilitate the creation of a network of tinkerers seeking to self-manage accessibility infrastructures. These cases not only bring to the fore different takes on the democratization of the relations between technical professionals and disability rights advocates, but also offer different approaches to the politics of universals in the design of urban accessibility arrangements.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)619-636
    JournalCity
    Volume20
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2016

    Keywords

    • disability
    • documentation interfaces
    • technical democracy
    • universal design
    • urban accessibility

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Urban accessibility issues: Techno-scientific democratizations at the documentation interface'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this