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Equal Living Environments: Urban design for decreased segregation and increased accessibility

The project Equal Living Environments aims to develop analytic models that enables increased understanding of people's different conditions for moving around in the environment. This to enable both concrete discussions through visualisation of system effects, and to thereby make possible bringing the challenge to a strategic planning discussion where the overarching decisions on urban structures are made.

Project aims

About the project

The project Equal Living Environments is financed by Vinnova within the framework of financing Innovations in universal design, and is a transdisciplinary project between KTH, Uppsala Municipality, the Swedish Disability Rights organisation in the Uppsala Region (Funktionsrätt Uppsala län) and Uppsala Municipality (Funktionsrätt Uppsala kommun). Uppsala Municipality co-finances the project, primarily through investment in working time. The project runs 2020-2021.

The project concerns enabling a better integration of accessibility challenges into early stages of urban planning, especially accessibility to social systems services. The project focuses on social sustainability concerning social and spatial segregation in relation to disability challenges, where universal design will be in focus for challenges of accessibility to services an a systems level. Equal accessibility has great impact on everyday life qualities, which also is a human right according to Agenda 2030.

Expected results

The project develops spatial analysis of local accessibility challenges on a system level, with a focus both on difficulties and possibilities of accessing different functions. The methods open for inclusion of a wide spectrum of aspects that affect accessibility, even if the the specific focus of the project is disability challenges. The results will contribute with knowledge concerning how urban design affects people's accessibility to resources differently, and methods which will become planning support for an inclusive society. As concerns urban resources, the project will primarily investigate accessibility to social systems services; that is, what the public provides in a wide sense ranging from specific functions (schools, libraries, healthcare) to public places (parks, squares).

Project structure

The project is led by KTH School of Architecture in cooperation with Uppsala municipality, together with the Swedish Disability Rights organisation in Uppsal Region and Uppsala Municipality. The work is structured around three themes: (1) Model & Method, (2) Practice & everyday life, (3) Process & communication, which all run throughout the project. The aim is that the project participants should engage with central questions in-depth and bring findings together to together define methods with scientific and theoretical robustness, aiming at practical application - including how different governing documents can be further developed to include and address accessibility aspects.


The project has produced one research report in the form of a collection consisting of an overall discussion of the project learnings and some recommendations, and a scientific paper to be included in conference proceedings. Both will be available through the KTH publication database.

The report is in Swedish with a brief summary in English, and is available here: Jämlik livsmiljö: Universell utformning och tillgänglighet som stadsbyggnadsutmaning .