Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
ally intimate relationships will be strongly dependent upon the nature of the physical
environment to be negotiated in the process.
The advent of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA 1995) has positively influen-
ced newbuilding andadaptations toexisting venues, andthis hasresulted inanincrease
in accessible social venues. Although social spaces are becoming increasingly access-
ible, disabled people's participation in such spaces nonetheless often requires planning.
Jenny talked about some of the environmental and practical considerations that had to
be made when socializing with visually impaired friends:
[Y]ou end up going to the same places because you know it's easy to get to the
loo, it's easy to get to the bar, the staff will read you the menu…. You want to sit
where there's room for the guide dogs, those of us that are long cane users get-
ting to the loo, getting somewhere near a taxi rank or near transport and that is
a major consideration…. You have got to be psyched up to try somewhere new
Some adaptations to the built environment may be compliant with legislation, but
their design or installation undertaken without consideration for, or consultation with,
to nondisabled patrons are often not available to disabled customers, a prime example
being the provision of accessible toilet facilities, the lack of which restricts disabled
peoples' participation in social spaces. As Sara commented:
[M]ost pubs and clubs I can't get into or I can't go to the toilet in, and it's fine
to get into some place but you have to be able to go to the toilet in order to be
socially free: to go out you have to be able to pee. (Sara 41-46 years)
like status where they have to seek permission to use the toilet, which may be regarded
as a subtle form of abuse toward disabled people (MacFarlane 1994). The wider so-
cial environment has very much evolved in the absence of disabled people, and as a
consequence the presence of diverse physicalities disrupts mainstream social spaces
(Chouinard 1999) because nondisabled people are often unsure of how to respond to
disabled people's presence. Therefore, while changing the physical environment is es-
toward disabled people also need to change (Butler and Bowlby 1997). As Sara again
son out.… They are amazed that we're out mixing among the other humans you know”
(Sara 45 years).
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