City of Vancouver Universal and Inclusive Design Feasibility Study


Vancouver, BC

In early 2020, we worked with the City of Vancouver to determine the most impactful and efficient use of $2-million of capital plan funds to improve accessibility in 31 City-owned facilities (including libraries, community centres, theatres and City Hall).

This included the identification, detailed reporting, and costing of upgrades and renovations, as well as the creation of a prioritization matrix to score and prioritize options.

Making accessibility upgrades to facilities often misses a critical step of involving individuals with lived experience. A common term heard is, “Nothing about us without us.” To honour this, stakeholders from various City departments and Advisory Committees were engaged in the development of the prioritization criteria. To identify barriers to accessibility from multiple perspectives of lived experience, we conducted site visits with members of the City’s Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee (PDAC) and Seniors’ Advisory Committee. As one of our most in-depth collaborations with people with lived experience on washroom design, the process has shifted our approach and continues to shape our practice in a deep and meaningful way.


Areas of impact

Our work included identifying barriers through site visits and audit reports, identifying potential solutions along with assessment criteria to prioritize the options. We developed a final report covering barriers and solutions including cost estimates. We also provided a tool that allows the City to prioritize and track potential upgrades, as well as provide input into capital planning. The tool remains in active use by the City today, highlighting the long-term impact of this project on access and inclusion in City facilities.

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