Here are just some of the biases about accessibility and inclusion encountered so far.

We need to identify the biases and overcome them so that accessibility will become an important part in the design and development of the built environment.


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It is a method of working/process;

"The action of making the built environment accessible to the needs of people with disabilities" - NP 051;

It is a set of rules for the universal dimensioning of spaces and its elements (windows, doors, hallways, ramps, sidewalks, maneuvering spaces, elevators, stairs, etc.) in order to provide increased mobility for people with various disabilities, permanent or temporary;

The principle on which it is based: one size fits all;

Accessibility retrofitting solutions are not always inclusive;

Governed by rules, laws and standards;

Based on the built environment and architecture as a source to identify problems and solutions;

inclusive design

It is a method of working / process;

It involves a different approach to the way projects, spaces, services, etc. are designed and proposes an understanding of users and their diversity, acceptance of their changing needs, abilities and general characteristics.

It makes the shift from designing for a universal human to designing for an individual, by involving users in the design-build process and in operation, then extending solutions to more people;

The principle on which it is based: design for one, extend the solution to many.

It may make a product/space/service more accessible, it does not mean that it meets all the standards required by the accessibility standard.

Not clearly regulated.

It emerged in the 1970s and 1980s from digital technologies (e.g. subtitles, audio books, etc.).

It requires a foundation of accessibility fundamentals, understanding of accessibility requirements and knowledge of standards. Having this basis, one can then set about identifying situations of exclusion.


It is an attribute.

It represents the qualities that make an experience, a product, a space or a course easy to use and/or understand by anyone.

Gives a space the strength/ability/power to “welcome” or “not welcome” people into it; governed by rules, laws and standards.

It is an important pillar in urban development to transform cities into spaces that can be enjoyed by all citizens, regardless of ability, age, gender, social or professional category, race, ethnicity, faith or religion, etc.

For more information see the guide “Barrier-free public spaces”.

other concepts

There are several types of design that place, in one form or another, the human at the centre of attention and the idea of understanding their needs, which have developed differently depending on the political, social and economic context.

Below is an open list of them and each has a link from which you can start searching for information to better understand the concepts:

Where to buy the book "Inclusive Design: Empathy Exercises in the Design Process"


The first inclusive design guide in Romania started from the stories of the least visible, of the “uninvited”, “unpredictable”,“different from the norm”, for whom the built environment can daily become a series of closed doors or a race full of obstacles. The book does not offer accessibility solutions, materials or dimensions, but it is a collective manifesto to remind us all of the responsibility we bear towards the community.


personal stories

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