The RiAT Trial
Western Australia | Urban, Regional
The MARCIA Project began in 2016, following community consultation that established the need for a holistic and targeted approach to accessibility and inclusivity in the Region.
Led by the (then) Bunbury Community Access Committee, the outcomes of this consultation demonstrated that, to be successful, the project needed to access resources, knowledge and expertise beyond that held by the council. The City partnered with Edith Cowan University (ECU) to conduct a 12-month research project exploring the barriers and facilitators of accessibility and inclusion throughout Bunbury.
The project was The project was led by a PhD Candidate at ECU, who recruited 11 local co-researchers, all of whom were residents with lived experience of disability. An appreciative inquiry approach was adopted: this is a process of facilitating dialogue between stakeholders to identify how current positive practices can be strengthened and further developed. The research methods included:
Through this comprehensive approach, researchers identified that most barriers are introduced at the initial design stage of development - when facilities, services and events are being conceptualised.
The researchers therefore sought to understand how designers might be better supported and equipped to create spaces that eliminate these barriers, specifically using the principles of inclusive design.
In particular, the researchers looked at the availability of training and technical support for learning inclusive design, and they also considered how co-designing spaces with people experiencing a disability may be facilitated to improve the inclusive qualities of design outcomes.
The MARCIA research outcomes were intended to support enduring and sustainable change to the design of facilities, services and events. These changes to the built environment encourage active ageing and walkability, and promote social inclusion for all community members. The recommendations included:
Bunbury has championed the findings of the MARCIA movement by creating the City of Bunbury Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2017-2022. This plan incorporates active ageing and walkability measures that go beyond standard statutory requirements. The in-depth participation model adopted by the City is testament to the its commitment to the vision.
The potential costs associated with meeting the MARCIA recommendations are estimated at $180,000 annually.