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Digital Streets : Not Just Disability but Mobility for All

Hepburn, Leigh Anne and Tulloch, Angela, Digital Health & Care Institute (DHI) Crooks, George, ed. (2016) Digital Streets : Not Just Disability but Mobility for All. Digital Health & Care Institute, Glasgow.

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Abstract

The built environment creates a number of societal challenges experienced by citizens today, particularly when considering factors such as physical or mental health, age or life-stage (Public Health England, 2015). Giles-Corte et al (2016) recognise the role for city planning in supporting the ‘liveability of cities’ and the subsequent health and wellbeing of residents, while Leyden (2003) states that people ‘who are socially engaged with others and actively involved in their communities tend to live longer and be healthier physically and mentally’. This interconnection between the built environment, community engagement and social and physical wellbeing creates a stimulating platform for a design research intervention. Across Scotland, digital technology such as Neatebox, Toilet Finder or Euan’s Guide have been developed in response to these challenges, but are often under utilised both by local authorities, health providers and the communities for which they are created. The Digital Streets Experience Lab project saw community groups, people with disabilities, Moray Council and NHS Grampian work collaboratively through a series of design-led activities to improve street accessibility in Elgin. Through Experience Labs, participants had the opportunity to engage in the design process, share insights, experience new concepts and imagine new ways of responding to these challenges (French, Teal, & Raman, 2016). The findings provided valuable insights on user experiences of the street accessibility, aspirations for the future of Elgin and knowledge of current technology. Most importantly, the project created a platform for community engagement at a local level, encouraging active involvement and working towards the liveability of Elgin city centre.