Celebrating the launch of the findings of AT2030’s sub-programmes in Indonesia. From Citizens to Cities: Participatory Approaches to Building Disability-Inclusive Cities

Iain McKinnon, Annamae Muldowney
June 21, 2022

Sharing the findings of the AT2030 Initiatives in Surakarta and Banjarmasin, Central Java, Indonesia.

A man using crutches is helped down from a high train to the platform by 3 workers


On Thursday the 12th of May 2022, the Kota Kita Foundation (Kota Kita), Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub) and University College London (UCL) held an event to launch the findings from the ‘Inclusive Infrastructureand ’Build Capacity and Participation‘ sub-programmes of the FCDO-funded AT2030 programme.  

AT2030 is a global programme that seeks to develop new approaches to transform access to life-changing Assistive Technology (AT) by creating partnerships that build and shape markets, strengthen public infrastructure, and support community participation.  

The initiatives presented at the launch highlight the need for accessible and inclusive urban spaces as the foundation to supporting a city’s economic growth and social welfare.  Many Indonesian cities still lack spaces that adequately address and accommodate the needs of under-represented groups such as persons with disabilities and older people.  The reasons for this are multi-faceted and often include a lack of understanding and knowledge by city governments and the general public. To help address this, two practical approaches can be taken by city governments, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders: 

  1. Ensure the availability of contextual data regarding the needs and aspirations of citizens with disabilities 
  2. Encourage meaningful participation of these communities in decision-making processes 

The AT2030 programme led by GDI Hub, has been working with Kota Kita and collaborating with the Surakarta (known as Solo) and Banjarmasin City Governments to help strengthen disability inclusion, primarily through two key sub-programmes:   

  • Inclusive Infrastructure Research in Solo: A research study to explore inclusive design of the built environment in Solo across people, policy and practice using participatory approaches to gain direct insights from persons with disabilities and other stakeholders.   
  • Co-Designing An Inclusive Public Space in Banjarmasin: A co-design initiative in Banjarmasin building on the aspirations and priority needs of communities collected through a series of workshops.  These will be realised through the construction of inclusive public space interventions in two neighbourhoods, Pelambuan and Kelayan Barat.  

A co-design workshop in action

The launch event

The from the ‘Inclusive Infrastructureand ’Build Capacity and Participation‘ sub-programmes of the FCDO-funded AT2030 programme

Following a warm welcome from Vanesha Manuturi from Kota Kita, GDI Hub co-founder and Director of Inclusive Design, Iain McKinnon introduced the AT2030 program to attendees. Iain emphasised the importance of inclusive infrastructures to enable the use of assistive technology (AT)  

“It is all very well getting assistive technology (AT) into the hand of those who need it, but if the built environment in which they live still prohibits it’s use then that AT is redundant. The genuine involvement of persons with disabilities in the process is vital. In the development of places and spaces ensuring that persons with disabilities are involved in the planning, design, build and also the operation ensures the outcomes are fit for purpose and more likely to be embraced by local communities who will use them.” 

Keynote addresses:

Keynote addresses came from Anne MacKinnon - FDCO’s AT2030 lead, Gibran Rakabuming - the Mayor of Surakarta and Ibnu Sina - the Mayor of Banjarmasin.  

Anne MacKinnon spoke about the importance of investing in science and technology to generate solutions to global challenges including those that matter most to our people, planet and prosperity.  

“ One of the keys to AT2030’s success is international partnerships and positive approaches to collaboration” 

“The event today is about capacity and participation and inclusive infrastructure, .... Indonesia, you have a strong history of inclusion which as our studies have shown enables people with disabilities to feel accepted, acknowledged and included in society. Those are strong foundations to build on. Funding and implementing policies, frameworks and development strategies that are appropriate for a city or country and that meet everyone’s needs is a massive challenge” 


Mayor of Solo, Gibran Rakabuming, highlighted the need for inclusive infrastructure to enable the use of assistive technology. 

“Assistive technology can change lives, but it needs to be supported by an enabling and accessible environment. Accessible and inclusive urban space serves as a foundation that underlies economic growth and social wellbeing in the city”  

 “Cities and buildings we live in need to be accessible and inclusive so that social justice can be realised. This requires evidence, strategy and goals that support cities to embed inclusive design in urban planning, development, structure and all aspects of the built environment of a city”. 


Mayor of Banjarmasin, Ibnu Sina, spoke of the actions needed to achieve inclusive cities and remarked that realising an inclusive city needs to consider three aspects  

  1. Inclusive policies 
  2. Inclusive public services 
  3. Community awareness 

Senior Inclusive Design Researcher at GDI Hub, Mikaela Patrick, launched the findings from the Inclusive Infrastructure sub-programme case study on Solo, highlighting the benefit of these findings as part of a global movement towards more inclusive cities world-wide.  

Mikaela described the participatory research methods led by Kota Kita including interviews, photo diaries and co-design workshops with local people with disabilities and stakeholders from industry and local government.  She described how Solo has the pollical will to be an inclusive city and set out some of the opportunities to make progress, such as: 

  • Include persons with disabilities in decision making 
  • Embed strong inclusive processes in all infrastructure projects  
  • Consider the environmental and economic sustainability benefits of inclusive design 
  • The need for a holistic approach across ministerial silos  

Julian Walker, Associate Professor at UCL’s Development Planning Unit (DPU) then presented the work undertaken in Banjarmasin as part of AT2030’s Build Capacity and Participation sub-programme 

Julian presented the two phases of the project, the first being participatory activities working closely with persons with disabilities in Banjarmasin to map out their aspirations for community development, followed by a pilot physical intervention to deliver inclusive public spaces for persons with disabilities in two neighbourhoods.  This was accompanied by an inspirational film demonstrating the inclusive, participatory processes adopted and latest progress on the build to date.   

The event closed with a group discussion including questions from the audience and a final vote of thanks to all involved.  The event was fully subscribed on the day but en Engish version of the recording can be watched back here: