New York Street with Buildings and Sidewalks
08 Jun

The Boom of Urban Density and Accessibility


City planners and researchers claim that more and more people are moving into cities, which is contributing to something called urban density. This term refers to the number of people within an urban area. It’s a crucial factor for city planning — understanding how the city is functioning based on economics, health, geography, and sustainability.

With the boom of urban density, cities must now plan ahead for a diverse population that will want access to social activities, urban amenities, restaurants, and so much more. Urban spaces include very public areas such as streets, squares, and parks while also offering semi-public areas such as alleys and cultural centers to the more private spaces of personal property within the city.

To create a diverse community, urban planners study the population growth and the city infrastructure, determining the best ways to adjust spaces to make them more universally accessible. By law, public spaces must be accessible to people of all abilities so that they can actively participate in community activities. All people should be able to use public spaces as intended.

In spaces with a high population, the potential for more individuals with disabilities increases. This means that cities must plan their human-centered environment with accessibility in mind for humans of all abilities and their mobility devices. Therefore, spaces should be wheelchair accessible with plenty of ramps and wide, well-maintained sidewalks.

What makes cities so beautiful is how they constantly change and adapt to their populations and environment. When it comes to urban design, the main considerations are location, density, human culture, natural resources, living necessity, and work. To benefit all, the urban setting needs to be designed with individuals who have disabilities in mind. The best communities allow people with disabilities to live as independently as possible.

In the United States, approximately one in four adults — that’s about 61 million people — live with at least one disability. Demographically, these individuals are most often women, older adults, American Indians/Alaska Natives, adults with lower income, and adults living in the South. Urban planning benefits from this knowledge because designers can better cater to their community needs.

One study revealed that many adults with disabilities live in rural areas as opposed to metropolitan spaces. This means that communities of all demographics need to be considerate of creating a space that provides an accessible and independent life for individuals with disabilities.

Individuals with disabilities in rural areas often have to face additional barriers to living an independent life than those who are living in more urban spaces. For example, in rural areas, individuals with disabilities may face more transportation problems, lower socioeconomic position, and less access to education, work, healthcare, and more. All communities must determine ways to improve their disability inclusivity and accessibility to improve general wellbeing and health.

The CDC works hard to help improve the health and lives of people with disabilities. They do this through 19 state disability and health programs and two National Centers on Health Promotion for People with Disabilities. These programs seek to improve knowledge and awareness as well as offer support programs for inclusion and accessibility.

Cities and smaller communities alike need to consider their disability inclusion by auditing their public and semi-public spaces for barriers, determining strategies to create inclusivity, and creating resources to help individuals with disabilities access public programs and activities.

At StrongGo, we believe in building a more accessible world, and we do that with our TekWay detectable warning dome tiles. Talk to an industry expert today to find out how we can help your project be aesthetically pleasing and ADA compliant.

Sources:
https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/features/disability-prevalence-rural-urban.html
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41324-020-00343-9