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White, S., 2017.

Including Architecture: What difference can we make?

Output Type:Chapter in a book
Publication:Architectural Design and Disability: A Critical Reader
Brief Description/Editor(s):Boys, J.
Publisher:Routledge, London

This collection introduces students, educators and practitioners of architecture, planning and other built environment disciplines to relevant key work from disability studies and activism. It crucially informs understandings of the inter-relationships between disability, ability, architecture and urban design, so as to impact positively on current educational and professional practices. Whilst readers and other anthologies already exist about architecture and for example, gender (e.g Matrix 1984, sexuality (e.g Colomina 1992) and race (e.g Lokko 200), disability remains almost entirely dealt with as a technical and regulatory issue. This makes it invisible in key areas such as architectural theory, history and design education. It is therefore missing from the central locations where ideas about architecture and the built environment are debated and developed. By providing resources for students, educators and practitioners this ongoing marginalization can be challenged, and dis/ability built into the mainstream of architectural thought and practice. This work will support disability studies scholars and activists, engaging in the field of architecture and dis/ability.
My chapter responds to key contemporary accounts of the relationship between individual human action and global issues such as economic prosperity (Sen 1999), environmental protection (Arne Ness 1989) and human rights (Nussbaum 2011) exploring conceptual approaches using philosophical frameworks which prioritise 'difference' over identities. Rather than focus on identified categories of disability, race or gender, they engage with the potential for creativity and inclusion created in the relationships between different people, places and practices. This contribution constructs a design philosophy able to account for a key disciplinary issue - the 'ethical' or 'ecological' role of architecture in enabling, ameliorating or challenging economic, environmental and social ambitions (Rawes 2013). Read alongside seminal texts in the subject area such as Imrie (1999), Hunt (1966) and Morrow (1999) this chapter offers an original, contemporary conceptualisation of forms of non-representational architectural practice, outlining different ways of thinking through the links between processes of drawing, construction and engagement with individual, social and disciplinary subjectivity.