Barrier-free, but how? - Background and implementation of inclusive planning

Elective seminar Bachelor and Master

Lecturer: M. Sc. Paulina Malys

Offer for Bachelor's and Master's students in L, S and A

Seminar in the summer semester 2024

In order to make cities and settlements more sustainable, the UN recommends in its Sustainable Development Goals that they be designed to be inclusive and safe. Among other things (but not only), the needs of people with disabilities should be taken into account in the planning of transportation systems and public spaces (Deutsche Gesellschaft für die Vereinten Nationen e.V., n.d.). There is still a long way to go in implementing this. Many public spaces and means of transportation are inaccessible or difficult to access for many people. This often results in social exclusion and the impairment of individual independence in everyday life (cf. Stafford et al., 2022).


More consideration for the needs of people with disabilities in planning can therefore reduce daily barriers and counteract the marginalization, if not discrimination, of people with disabilities.


The aim of the course is to sensitize students to the concerns of people with disabilities and to develop possibilities and approaches for dealing with issues of disability in open space, urban and landscape planning. In the first part of the seminar, various theoretical approaches to topics relating to disability and accessibility will be used to develop a differentiated understanding of these issues. Possible questions include: What discourses and understandings of disability have emerged over time? How are disabilities socially constructed? What contributes to the further consolidation of these constructions? What perspectives on justice can be taken into account in the context of accessible planning? How can people's concerns be integrated into planning? The second part of the seminar will focus on the implementation of accessibility from two planning perspectives: the design of physical spaces on the one hand and the participatory involvement of people with disabilities in planning processes on the other. In addition, the creative and material implementation of elements of accessibility in the field will be explored.


Literature cited:


Deutsche Gesellschaft für die Vereinten Nationen e.V. (n.d.): Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Online at: (29.02.2024)


Stafford, Lisa; Vanik, Leonor; Bates, Lisa K. (2022): Disability Justice and Urban Planning. In: Planning Theory & Practice 23 (1), pp. 101-142. DOI: 10.1080/14649357.2022.2035545.