The report comes after recent research from Galop and Stonewall found that 50% of the British public recognise that LGBTQ+ people change their behaviour in public space to avoid hostile targeting, while trans people avoid certain areas altogether.
Despite the emergence of queer enclaves, known as ‘gaybourhoods’, in many cities around the world, report authors Professor Pippa Catterall and Dr Ammar Azzouz argue that inclusivity and inclusive design needs to go far beyond this. Their key findings include:
A fresh approach to planning, licensing and design is needed to mark and celebrate queer heritage in the public realm. LGBTQ+ heritage must be highlighted and preserved to ensure people understand the rich history of LGBTQ+ experiences and communities. This may help undermine the hostility and misunderstanding which continues to be widely expressed towards these groups.
Inclusive design should contribute to the desistance of hate crime and promote the inclusion of marginalised and disempowered groups in public space. Professor Catterall and Dr Azzouz suggest attention to the scale and mass of buildings, lighting features, colours and facades and the addition of curvilinear aspects are amongst the design techniques that can help achieve this objective.
LGBTQ+ inclusion and safety in public space should be incorporated into devices like equality impact assessments as a requirement, particularly when there is a loss of amenities for them in the planning application process. Designers should consult with marginalised communities when planning and designing spaces, involving them in the process to better understand their challenges and needs.
By addressing these recommendations and designing in diversity, the report argues that public spaces will be more accessible to all marginalised and disempowered groups, creating inclusive and welcoming spaces for all.