SP 10: Inclusive Infrastructure

Led by GDI, ‘Inclusive Infrastructure’ is a 3-year sub-programme, which considers the idea that equal access to AT is dependent on an enabling physical environment. Engaging stakeholders who help shape the built environment, with the inclusion and participation of AT users.

A person pushing a wheelchair down a muddy track

Built environment barriers to assistive technology and accessibility in unplanned settlements in Ulaanbaatar.  

(Image captured from a participant photo diary in case study 1 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia)


The aim of the research is to build evidence on the awareness, understanding, acceptance, application and experience of Inclusive Design and accessible environments globally, particularly in lower and middle-income countries by conducting research in three areas:

  1. The community experience of disability and the built environment
  2. Practice focused research on the awareness and application of inclusive design
  3. Policy-focused research on the governance, guidelines and protections of inclusive design at the highest levels

The overarching research question

‘What is the current state of inclusive and accessible environments and infrastructure in LMICs, and what is the role of inclusive design in creating an enabling environment for disabled people?’

Local and specific knowledge of environments

Globally, the terms used to discuss inclusion in the built environment vary. In the UK, inclusive design is more commonly used, but globally universal design and design for all can be more common. Inclusion agendas across international development frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals and new urban agenda are broad, and do not focus specifically on the needs and aspirations of disabled people.

The Inclusive Infrastructure team want to build local and specific knowledge of what constitutes an inclusive environment in diverse low and middle income countries, by engaging directly with community, practice, industry and policy in cities in low- resource settings to ensure insights and actions are appropriate and adaptable to diverse contexts. By conducting research on both the awareness, understanding, practice and policy of inclusive design in low-resource settings, and the experienced accessibility and inclusivity of the built environment - the team anticipates primarily benefitting Global South locations and FCDO priority countries. The hope it that the research will also have benefit for the most vulnerable communities globally, including excluded and low-resourced communities in high-income settings.

Challenges around inclusive design and accessible environments in lower-and-middle-income settings include:

  • Low understanding and implementation of inclusion measures across a whole project life cycle
  • The enforcement and awareness of both regulations and good practice
  • A lack in understanding of inclusive design and engagement through all stakeholders in the built environment industry, from policy and planning to design and construction
  • A need for the voices of disabled people in these processes to be more often heard and integrated
  • International policy and frameworks for inclusion are currently not embedded, and need to be mobilised at a local level where research on the challenges and opportunities for inclusion in the built environment across diverse stakeholder groups will be valuable


  • Image of Kenyan skyline, on a clear day. Cover Image

    Why inclusive design is important for climate and crisis resilience in cities

    Global Disability Innovation Hub, Iain McKinnon, Mikaela Patrick, Annamae Muldowney
    Dec. 12, 2022

    Cities worldwide are significantly exposed to the growing impact of climate crisis, from increased heat, intense weather changes, to disasters. At the Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub) we believe that in order to achieve resilience, everyone in the community must be enabled to respond to climate change and crisis on an equal basis.  This is the foundation of inclusive climate resilience.  With 80% of disabled people living in climate-vulnerable countries, embedding inclusive design into climate and crisis resilience strategies in cities are key to achieving this. Find out more in this article featured on The Access Association.

  • Image of the city of Medellin - the skyline Cover Image

    Medellín announced as the sixth AT2030 Inclusive Infrastructure Case Study

    Global Disability Innovation Hub
    Nov. 15, 2022

    The Global Disability Innovation Hub is delighted to announce that under the UK Aid-funded AT2030 programme, the sixth and final case study of the Inclusive Infrastructure sub-programme will take place in the city of Medellín, Colombia. The case study will start in January 2023 with the aim of launching the report in early summer.

  • Image of a mobility bike navigating the steets of Nairobi Cover Image

    Inclusive Infrastructure Case Study is launched in Nairobi, a city experiencing rapid growth and investment in infrastructure

    Global Disability Innovation Hub, Kilimanjaro Blind Trust, Kounkuey Design Initiative
    Nov. 14, 2022

    Nairobi is a city of innovation - business opportunities and the start-up ecosystem is vibrant. Kenya has a strong legal framework to create inclusive cities and further disability inclusion. There is clear appetite from Government to take action represented through these legal frameworks, but there remains lots to be done.

  • Cover phone of the report, with organisation logos and title Cover Image

    Inclusive Infrastructure Case Study Nairobi, Kenya

    Global Disability Innovation Hub, Kilimanjaro Blind Trust, Kounkuey Design Initiative
    Nov. 3, 2022

    Nairobi is experiencing rapid growth and investment in infrastructure which offers great potential to embed inclusion. The city has complex urban development challenges with roads and transportation commonly cited as major challenges. This case study explore the current state of the infrastructure provision - and makes recommendations for opportunities to imbed accessibility and inclusion.

  • Screen shot of the front cover of the report in Bahasa Indonesia Cover Image

    Inclusive Infrastructure Case Study Solo Indonesia written in Bahasa Indonesia

    Global Disability Innovation Hub, Kota Kita, UK Aid
    Nov. 3, 2022

    The third case study as part of the Inclusive Infrastructure programme on Solo, Indonesia. This is the Bahasa Indonesia version of the report. This case study builds a picture of the current state of inclusion and accessibility in the built environment and infrastructure in Solo through engaging local stakeholders and communities and exploring the understanding of and potential for inclusive design to address some of the current barriers to inclusion.


Headshot of Iain McKinnon smiling and talking using a microphone

Iain McKinnon

Co-founder and Director of Operations & Inclusive Design
Ahmad Rifai's profile photo

Ahmad Rifai

Co-Founder & Executive Director
Fuad Jamil (AA)'s profile photo

Fuad Jamil (AA)

Community Engagement Facilitator
Nina Asterina's profile photo

Nina Asterina

Researcher & Project Manager