'A Truly Golden Handbook': The Scholarly Quest for Utopia pages:237-247
What if by 2100 it were common for architects to rent disabled people’s spatial experience so as to inform the design of more inclusive buildings and spaces? This utopian dream arose in reaction to the following two observations: on the one hand, the ageing of the population and radical changes in how disability is understood challenge architects and other built environment professionals to make the built environment more inclusive; on the other hand, disabled people hold a weak position on the job market.
In this chapter I describe how the dream to rent (out) disabled people’s spatial experience grew, and to what extent it can be considered as utopian – both in the sense of eu-topos and in the sense of ou-topos. To this end, I start by introducing the notion of disability that lies at the root of this idea, and explain how it relates to the built environment.