Geographies, mobilities and politics for disabled people: power-assisted device practice

Publication Name

Australian Geographer


In this paper, key findings are presented from an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage project that investigated the geographies, mobilities and politics for disabled people who roll powered assisted devices (wheelchairs and mobility scooters). We offer a spatial framework to think about the politics of exclusion/inclusion from public space along three dimensions: as a distributed institutional decision-making process, as personal, and as an event/journey. We recruited 68 disabled people to collaborate in a multi-stage, mixed-method qualitative project from 2020–2022. Four themes emerged from our thematic analysis of everyday power-assisted device practices that offer insights to what enables or constrains access to public space: the desire for social connections and independence, normative assumptions of standing design, the built form when going places (steps, gutters and stairs) alongside the interdependencies of various care and transport networks. We point to the implications for policy, planning and future research.

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