Did you know that architecture plays a big role in creating and maintaining inclusive communities? An inclusive community is one in which every member is valued, and where everyone’s needs are met. It also upholds the values of treating everyone with respect, making everyone feel welcomed, and ensuring everyone has access to necessary resources. While the relationship between the two might not be immediately apparent to those who aren’t familiar with the industry, architecture does in fact facilitate inclusivity. Here’s how:
How Can an Architect Create Inclusive Communities through Design?
When designing housing complexes, public parks, or other public spaces that will be a central part of a community, there are several ways architects can use design to ensure people of all walks of life can utilize these areas :
- Accessible transportation systems. This includes places where pedestrians can walk safely, designated lanes for cyclists, and wheelchair accessible public transportation. Sustainability is at the forefront of modern building practices and many communities are eager to move away from car dependency where possible.
- Infrastructure for local shops in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic. Supporting mom and pop shops is an important part of maintaining a lively downtown that locals and out-of-towners want to visit often. For that reason alone, many neighborhoods strive to “shop local.”
- Integrating accessible shaded outdoor areas where people can gather. Aside from public parks, having several shaded areas where people can sit, talk, and enjoy a meal together is a great way to foster connections within a community.
Key Factors to Consider to Encourage Inclusivity and Diversity
Consider people with mobility limitations. Disabled people are as much a part of their community as able-bodied people are, and if they can’t access certain public places then these places can’t be called inclusive. It’s essential to design spaces that are accessible to everyone. One major consideration would be to include handrails and wheelchair ramps to entrances and exits.
Consider different body sizes: This is especially important when it comes to seating choices, as smaller chairs can discourage people with larger body types from using them. Be sure your seating is size-inclusive and can withstand higher weight limits.
Consider different age groups: Older adults sometimes have reduced mobility or difficulty walking up stairs, so avoid steep staircases, slippery surfaces, and tripping hazards. Be sure to include railings where possible, and surfaces with a lot of grip.
Consider parents with children: In the summer when kids are out of school, it becomes very essential for parents to find different ways to keep their children occupied when they’re out and about. It’s more than ideal when community spaces are child-friendly and include playgrounds, rides and other spaces where kids can get together and have some fun!
As part of our commitment to inclusive community architecture, our architect Seth recently participated in a Habitat for Humanity project that is very close to his heart. The condo complex – the largest ever project for the organization – is home to 13 families who now have the opportunity to be a part of their new community in Randolph, NJ.
For more information about how architecture is used to foster community inclusiveness, or if you have any questions about our commercial architecture services in New Jersey, please contact our team at Seth A. Leeb Architect or visit our website today at: https://leeb-architecture.com/