Mitia Aranda Faieta
Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science, Energy Environment and Society
‘An inclusive and sustainable blue-green space infrastructure for people with disabilities in Scotland post-Covid-19 pandemic’
Project Dates: 16 January 2023 – 31 December 2026
Mitia is a Hydro Nations Scholar at the University of Dundee.
Access to blue-green spaces has been associated with a positive impact on people’s wellbeing; increasing attention has been dedicated to this amidst the different phases of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite its importance, access to blue-green infrastructure remains unequal across society disproportionally affecting some groups compared to others, including persons with disabilities. The project ‘An inclusive and sustainable blue-green space infrastructure for people with disabilities in Scotland post-Covid-19 pandemic’ aims at examining and enhancing access, quality, inclusivity, and sustainability, of blue spaces for people with disabilities in the country.
The research project stands at the intersection of 4 main thematic areas. These are blue-green infrastructure, planning (with a focus on accessibility and inclusion), health and wellbeing, and last but not least the life of people with disability.
The project is articulated in four development phases, that correspond to four objectives:
1.To examine access and use of blue space infrastructure (water, buildings, services) by people with disability pre, during, and emerging post, Covid-19 pandemic:
For this phase a literature review of evidence of access to, use of, barriers to and inequalities related to, blue space infrastructure for people with disabilities in Scotland and internationally will be conducted. An advisory group, including people with disabilities, representatives from disability organisations (e.g. Disability Equality Scotland), SEPA, CREW, and Scottish Government, will be formed. Secondary data on public use of blue space infrastructure (e.g. Scottish Recreation Survey; Scotland’s People and Nature Survey) will be reviewed. A participatory event with Advisory Group to co-productively determine research design will be conducted.
2. To map the locations, quality, benefits, and barriers for access and use of blue spaces, by people with disability:
During phase two interviews with key stakeholders (e.g., Scottish Government, SEPA, TAYplan, Architecture and Design Scotland, disability organisations, and other relevant agencies) will take place. A survey to collect perception on blue spaces access and use will be distributed among a representative (of different types of disability and locations) sample of people with disabilities in Scotland (1000 approx.). Mapping and assessment of blue space infrastructure in Scotland, using a quality assessment tool, including accessibility, water/bathing quality, and services, using secondary data from Scottish Government, SEPA, local authorities, and charities will be conducted.
3. To assess the quality, inclusivity, and sustainability, of existing and new blue spaces:
For phase three case-studies of blue space infrastructure in four locations (major urban, town, accessible rural, and remote rural) in the TAYplan region will be identified. Mobile interviews with a sample of people with disabilities in blue space infrastructure sites they use or seek to access will be conducted. Participatory Planning events in each location will be hosted to examine access and usage of local blue space sites by people with disabilities, and to co-produce enhancement solutions to local issues. International consultation events will be organized to examine best practice, with relevant stakeholders in two international contexts to be determined.
4. Using participatory planning approaches, with people with disabilities and other stakeholders, to produce a development plan for high-quality, inclusive, and sustainable blue space infrastructure in Scotland post-pandemic:
For the fourth and final phase, a high-quality, inclusive, and sustainable development plan for blue space in Scotland post-pandemic (drawing on evidence from Phases 1-3, and Advisory Group guidance) will be produced. A dissemination strategy will be implemented to communicate the development plan to diverse audiences and stakeholders in the case-study locations, across Scotland, and to Scottish Government, local authorities, and relevant agencies, through academic publications, websites and social media, and policy and academic conferences.