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Call to Action:
A (Little) Manifesto for Doing Dis/Ability Differently in Architecture
Jos Boys
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Simplistic binary divisions between “the disabled” and “everyone else” remain surprisingly normalized within contemporary architectural education and practice. We are taught to design buildings for their users, and only afterward to retrofit for some Others—the disabled—through the application of banal technical and legal guidance. While other identities are at least explored to some extent in architectural discourse and practice, disability as a concept and disabled people as a constituency continue to be assumed as completely separate from social or cultural politics—as merely a catalog of unproblematic functional categories (e.g., deaf, blind, and wheelchair user). Unlike gender, race, or sexuality then—and the feminist, postcolonial, and queer studies that underpin associated scholarship and debate—it seems that we assume “disability” to be unable to bring any kind of criticality or creativity to the discipline of architecture.

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