Can we make it in time? An analysis of wheelchair users’ and elders’ accessibility to public transportation and green spaces in Landskrona City
Abstract: Mobility constitutes an important aspect in order to create quality of life, where a well working public transportation can decrease the level of stress and create more “flow” in the everyday life (Atkins 2009). However, not all individuals have the mobility prerequisites; for people with disabilities, the preconditions of movement are limited. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the accessibility to public transportation and green spaces in Landskrona City for wheelchair users and elders with mobility impairments. This thesis bases in time-geography, which maps movements in time and space in one existential timeframe (Holm et al 1989: 14). However, time-geography is rather objective in its execution, which primarily examines the physical and material world. Therefore, in order to create as comprehensive research as possible, one must include subjective aspects of the built environment as well. The first research question is addressed from an objective perspective, where I employ a quantitative approach. I use the research method Network Analysis within GIS, to calculate distance and time. In connection to the first research question, I also suggest changes in the built environment that could affect accessibility in time and space for people with disabilities positively. The second research question is addressed from a subjective perspective, where I employ a qualitative approach. In this research question, I discuss on a general level how wheelchairs users’ and elders’ movement in time and space can be explained by the restrictions and the everyday life contexts in time-geography. I further discuss how time-geography embraces the concept of quality. The discussion of the first research question revealed that there are a number of areas concerning public transportation and green spaces that are considered to be physically inaccessible for wheelchairs users and elders with mobility impairments. However, there are additionally a number of alterations that can be made in order for the built environment to become more accessible. The discussion of the second research question resulted as a confirmation that time-geography lacks the subjective interpretation of movement in time and space. Neither the restrictions nor the everyday life contexts could explain certain movements in time and space that primarily was controlled by social and mental processes. This thesis concludes that time-geography needs to be further developed in order to grasp social and mental processes that can determine how individuals use the urban setting. This thesis further argues that there is a need to value accessibility amongst people with disabilities in order for the society to be inclusive. The thesis concludes with suggestions for further research.
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