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The Socio-spatial Construction of (In)accessible Public Toilets

Kitchin, Rob and Law, Robin (2001) The Socio-spatial Construction of (In)accessible Public Toilets. Urban Studies, 38 (2). pp. 287-298. ISSN 0042-0980

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Abstract

This paper examines the rights of disabled people to access public spaces in Western societies through an analysis of the provision of accessible public toilets in Ireland. Providing a critical analysis around the themes of social justice and citizenship, the investigation is based on an examination of present-day planning legislation, interviews conducted with 35 disabled people—19 in the Republic of Ireland and 16 in Northern Ireland—and a case study of one particular town, Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland. These data reveal that in Ireland and the UK, planning legislation is weak and often not enforced. Accessible public toilets are few and far between; those that do exist are often poorly designed; and, this lack of provision severely delimits the daily spatial behaviour of disabled people. This lack of provision, it is argued, is expressive of a wider set of ableist power geometries and signiŽ es that disabled people do not, as yet, have the same civil rights as non-disabled people. 1. Introduction Geographers and others have recently started to document how space is socially produced in ways that deny disabled people the same levels of access as non-disabled people. Adopting a largely critical position, they have sought to expose both the ways in which disabled people are excluded from full participation in society through the social production of space; and, the spatial manifestations of unequal social relations (see Kitchin, 1998). It is clear that, despite varying approaches to the study of this subject, researchers agree

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final and definitive version of this article is available at Urban Studies (2001) Vol.38 No.2, pp.287-298, doi:10.1080/00420980124395
Keywords: spatial behaviour; construction; accessible public toilets; disabled access; Ireland; social justice; citizenship; planning legislation;
Subjects: Social Sciences > Geography
Social Sciences > NIRSA-National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis
Item ID: 3906
Depositing User: Prof. Rob Kitchin
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2012 15:50
Journal or Publication Title: Urban Studies
Publisher: SAGE
Refereed: Yes
URI:

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