7 Visions for the Accessible City of the Future

With the portion of American's living in cities set to rise to 90 percent by 2050, a new set of accessibility issues will confront the nation's disabled and aging. Metropolis invited 7 teams of designers to develop solutions to meet this challenge.

According to Metropolis editor Susan S. Szenasy, the magazine "asked seven teams of great design thinkers what they predict a fully accessible city might look like (and better yet, how it would function)...Our goal was to create an ideal city, one fully accessible to all ages and abilities." Ranging from the "established" to the "up-and-coming," participants include Grimshaw Architects, West 8, Interboro Partners, Linearscape, OPEN, John Ronan Architects, and LUNAR, who each tackled component parts of the city.

One of the more inventive approaches came from Interboro, who were tasked with designing the inclusive "community center" of the future, but instead chose to distribute its component parts (rec room, meeting space, walk-in clinic, etc.) into the urban fabric.

Says the firm: "A truly inclusive community center is only conceivable in an all-access community: one that first of all does not discriminate in the sale, rental, and marketing of homes, in mortgage lending, and in zoning, but that also affirmatively furthers fair housing and creates a welcoming environment for all, regardless of income, race, religion, or physical ability."

In the accompanying drawing, they "present an incomplete (and somewhat eclectic) collection of tools to help build such an all-access community, ranging from practical physical features like raised crosswalks and curb cuts; larger, more policy-based tools like inclusionary zoning, housing vouchers, and racial quotas; and more irreverent ideas like garage sales, festivals, and Halloween celebrations."


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