Access and Mobility in Milton Keynes: An Inclusive Design History where Urban Planning Ideals and Design Intent Meet Disability Politics

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Rachael Luck


This paper offers the first inclusive design history of Milton Keynes, examining how the accessibility of Milton Keynes was conceived at the time it was planned and designed. Prompted by the recollection at interview that people with disabilities were encouraged to live in Milton Keynes because it was accessible, the foundations of this claim are explored through walkabouts, oral histories and documentary evidence. The study reveals ‘ease of movement and access’ as one of Milton Keynes’ planning goals and The Open University as the location for foundational arguments that shaped the social construction of disability. It is remarkable that the social model of disability and the injustice of inaccessibility surfaced in a city that was designed to enable mobility and access, although Milton Keynes in the 1970s is remembered as a place that attracted designers, academics, and activists interested in a more equitable future.


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How to Cite
Luck, R. (2022). Access and Mobility in Milton Keynes: An Inclusive Design History where Urban Planning Ideals and Design Intent Meet Disability Politics. Diseña, (21), Article.6.
Original articles
Author Biography

Rachael Luck, The Open University

Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Construction Management, University of Reading. M.Sc. in Applied Informatics, University of Reading. Chartered Architect, Dipl., and BA in Architecture, University of Kingston. She is Associate Dean for Research in the STEM Faculty of The Open University, a member of the Editorial Board for Design Studies and the AHRC Peer Review College. She applies ethnographic approaches to examine how people participate in the design of spaces, places, and things. Some of her latest publications include ‘Inclusive Design and Making in Practice: Bringing Bodily Experience into Closer Contact with Making’ (Design Studies, Vol. 54); ‘Participatory Design in Architectural Practice: Changing Practices in Future Making in Uncertain Times’ (Design Studies, Vol. 58); and ‘Design Research, Architectural Research, Architectural Design Research: An Ar­gument on Disciplinarity and Identity’ (Design Studies, Vol. 65).


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