The Americans with Disabilities Act has provided people with physical and cognitive disabilities greater access to various buildings and public spaces. However, numerous challenges remain for the disabled to move freely and easily in urban areas due to barriers in the built environment. Effective solutions will likely require radical shifts in perspective, something that disabled architects and planners can offer through their lived experience, argues David Gissen, Professor of Architecture and Urban History at the Parsons School of Design. According to Gissen, a good design offers variety and customizability, so it can meet the ever-changing needs of individuals with physical and mental impediments. "Disabled people's bodies and capacities are always changing depending on the kind of medical care they're getting," said Gissen. Given that change is an inevitable part of the human condition (e.g., getting old, becoming sick), all of us -- abled or disabled -- will likely benefit from thinking about inclusive spaces in a richer way.

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