Consistent signage and diverse spaces as well as level-access public transport are some of the many ways the City of Melbourne could become more inclusive for people with disability, according to a newly released report.

Led by the University of Melbourne Disability Institute in partnership with the City of Melbourne, the study found that consultation, legislation, public transport and footpaths were key themes.

University of Melbourne lead investigator Dr Jerome Rachele says that “in order to understand how to make a city truly inclusive for people with disability you need to understand the diversity of disability and diversity of needs,”

“The first thing people often think of when talking about an accessible city is ramps. Ramps are important, but it’s much more than that. It’s having adaptable housing that’s affordable and public signage that’s consistent and easy to understand. It’s also educating employers about inclusion and diversity, and offering not just inclusive spaces, but a diversity of spaces – quiet spaces, safe spaces, rest spaces, and low-sensory spaces,” he says.

City of Melbourne People City portfolio Chair Councillor Beverley Pinder says the study was designed to will inform the Council’s future Disability Action Plan.

“Increased accessibility in our city, will lead to a more inclusive society. The City of Melbourne is committed to drawing on the insights of this study to help make our city more inclusive for everyone,” Pinder says.

Other key findings include the need to increase employment of people with disabilities at the City of Melbourne, make sure people with disability are not segregated from other patrons at events and consult with people with disability in the design of legislation, public transport and footpath improvement.

“Around 18.3 percent of Australians live with disability. People with disability have an equal right to fully participate in society,” says Rachele, adding that this study “reinforces the importance for ongoing participation of people with disability in research, policy design and city planning.”

The report can be downloaded here.