Challenge issued by ICE to put inclusivity at the heart of any future city designs

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has published a paper which is calling for a new way of thinking within the industry and asks engineers, designers and academia to ensure future infrastructure that underpins our cities is more inclusive.

Three main challenges have been raised by the organisation which focus on ensuring greater female representation throughout the industry, more research on how infrastructure can better support the needs of night workers and the night-time economy and a call to engineers to think about design from the point of view of people with differing needs to their own.

The challenges and findings raised are part of a paper published today (25 April) by ICE entitled ‘What is the city but the people? The role of the engineer in creating inclusive cities’. It follows an Inclusive Cities conference earlier this year, during which experts from across industry, policy, design, academia and the arts met, and examined the role of the engineer in city planning and social sustainability.

ICE hopes the industry as a result will better consider how cities can be safer and more accessible at night, how accessible design can be incorporated to allow access for all and how women can be better included in design and planning, to create spaces that are more inclusive. 

Commenting on the paper, Lord Robert Mair, ICE president, said: “Our citizens have vast and varied lifestyles and it is essential that our cities are able to work for them. Helping people live better, less complicated lives is at the very heart of engineering and we’re challenging the industry to do more to design and build cities that are inclusive for all, at all times, regardless of gender, mental or physical ability. As we celebrate ICE’s bicentenary year, it is apt that we not only recognise the important work of the past but consider what engineers can do for the future, helping build more inclusive communities and cities in the next 200 years.”

Dr Ellie Cosgrave, lecturer in urban design at City Leadership Lab UCL, added: “We want to lead our industry in debating how cities can be more inclusive. As well as value for money, we should be thinking about the social value of the things we build, and environmental and economic sustainability. Inclusivity is not a buzzword; how we design our cities impacts on people’s lives so we must ensure the infrastructure which our cities depend on is welcoming to all.”

The report is just one small part of how ICE is raising awareness about it reaching a rare milestone in 2018 – a bicentenary. It’s using the bicentenary as an opportunity to remind the general public that civil engineers transform their lives for the better and safeguard the future for their families.

To view the report in full, click here.

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