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Research Paper Symbol

Making suburbs inclusive for all bodies and minds

By Lisa Stafford

Resource Post - June 2023

Circle surrounding a variety of people with and without disabilities, different ages, roles and backgrounds..

Article Introduction

The right to inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable settlements is an aim of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11, with a particular focus on addressing racial, disability, class, gender and age inequality and injustice by the year 2030. Reaching this goal will be difficult given the legacy of poorly planned middle and outer suburbs that has produced car-focused streets and suburban environments that have created immobility, exclusion, and inequality for many groups and communities. Disabled people who are 1 in 5 or 4.4 million Australians, and the 1 in 3 or over 8 million Australians who live with at least one long-term health condition, particularly experience barriers to full participation in suburban environments due to varying degrees of exclusion and inaccessibility (physical, cognitive, and sensory).

To help identify how can we work towards achieving more inclusive suburbs, the Planning Inclusive Communities Project was established. We worked with 97 affected citizens, aged 9-92 years of age, with and without disability and chronic illness. These residents lived in predominately middle to outer suburbs across Clarence City Council and the Greater Hobart region in Tasmania and Gympie Regional Council in Queensland, Australia. The project identified drivers/tensions to inclusion, what makes communities inclusive, and the change needed based on current realities and experiences of living in the suburbs.

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