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


  • Co-creating Inclusive Public Spaces: Learnings from Four Global Case Studies on inclusive Cities

    Iain McKinnon, Mikaela Patrick
    June 26, 2022

    Inclusive public spaces are fundamental to participation and inclusive in society. Including persons with disabilities in the design and planning of the built environment supports equal rights and helps identify people’s aspirations for inclusive environments. Four city case studies will be discussed in this paper: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Varanasi, India; Surakarta, Indonesia; and Nairobi, Kenya.

  • A man using crutches is stepping down from a high train with the help of 3 workers Cover Image

    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

    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 Infrastructure’ and ’Build Capacity and Participation‘ sub-programmes of the FCDO-funded AT2030 programme, from the AT2030 Initiatives in Surakarta and Banjarmasin, Central Java, Indonesia.

  • Image of video recording - 3 speakers on screen Cover Image

    Digital Launch Inclusive Design and Accessibility of the Built Environment in Solo Indonesia

    Kota Kita
    June 13, 2022

    GDI Hub and Kota Kita are pleased to showcase the digital launch of the third case study as part of the Inclusive Infrastructure programme on Solo, Indonesia. Watch the launch in English or Indonesian.

  • Front cover of the report Cover Image

    Inclusive Design and Accessibility of the Built Environment in Solo, Indonesia

    Global Disability Innovation Hub, Kota Kita, UK Aid
    March 11, 2022

    The third case study as part of the Inclusive Infrastructure programme on Solo, Indonesia. 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.

  • Cover page of the case study entitled: Inclusive Design and Accessibility of the Built Environment in Varanasi, India Cover Image

    Inclusive Design and Accessibility of the Built Environment in Varanasi, India

    Mikaela Patrick, Iain McKinnon, Satish Mishra, Shivani Gupta, Prabha Roy, Utsav Choudhury, Kavita Murugkar, Gaurav Raheja
    Oct. 13, 2021

    The purpose of this case study is to explore the state of inclusive and accessible environments for persons with disabilities in Varanasi, India, through engagement with policy, industry and community stakeholders (policy, practice and people). Through this engagement, the case study is developing evidence on the challenges and opportunities for implementing inclusive and accessible design in Varanasi and makes recommendations on local actions towards becoming a more inclusive city.


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