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Disability and the Built Environment- How Leeds City centre caters for disabled workers and shoppers.

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Introduction

Techniques in Human Geography-Disability and the Built Environment Introduction: Leeds is a bursting metropolis with an extensive and diverse range of shops and department stores. "This has been a direct response of the Leeds Retail Inniative, set up in 1994 so as to promote city centre shopping" (Colin, 1997).There is a wide range of shopping facilities, from small boutiques to large department stores such as GAP and Next outlets, have all added to the ever expanding Leeds retail base. The Victoria Quarter has several existing connected arcades, such as the Queen's Arcade, located off Briggate Street. Other popular shopping attractions include Leeds Kirk gate Market, Leeds Shopping Plaza, St Johns, Merion centre, and other shopping centers outside the CBD, such as the Crown point and The White Rose. Considering the build town centre there are many issues and aspects of general life which should be taken to custom-fit all shopper's personal needs regardless of their physical or mental wellbeing. One of the biggest issues affecting a number of people is Disability. This project looks at just how shopping centers have dealt with providing access, warm, welcoming and enjoyable visit for the disabled members of our community. The Government has done a lot for disabled people in policies to cater for them. The two main policies that the Government has set up in 1995 the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), which has had some amendments such as the Phase 2 in 1999, which requires employers to make reasonable adjustments ...read more.

Middle

This approach is much more suitable for this research for the very simple reasons firstly that it is cheap and affordable, there are no extra costs except for travelling to the city by bus, however because of flexibility and simplicity of the approach I could carry it out leisurely on my way to or from university or at any time as much as a person would l would have liked depending on my own free time. And also considering that it was carried out in Leeds City Centre where I live and familiar with the surroundings, it was much more appropriate because I knew all retail shops and city centre in general. The technique is very much hands on, allowing individual to "get inside" a particular situation and experience and observe first hand so as to have a more clearer understanding of the subject matter. This method was also used because, "Observation is a preferred method for answering questions about intangible phenomena that are difficult for insiders to explain or articulate because these phenomena are taken for granted". (Denise, 2007). In other words regardless of the physical adjustment made to shops, l had to pay particular attention to the way the adjustments were made, whether for genuine reasons or just to cover up and do the minimum adjustments just to stay within law requirements. This is certainly an appropriate method because level of adjustment within shops to cater for wheel chair access reflects the shop owner's attitude towards disabled people. ...read more.

Conclusion

Even though within most smaller shops outside shopping malls, there were small entrance doors which could not allow disabled access, however there was some minimum small adjustments done such as paving the doorways and generally speaking the built up environment is paved and well away from traffic. Also, there were some extra efforts to provide a good source of light in most shops, making it easy for the old and visually impaired. Generally speaking, in most shops the staff members were very friendly and always willing to assist. Conclusion In conclusion, Leeds is definitely a great city, well suited for all. Absence of traffic within the city allows more room for pedestrians and a cleaner environment. In general, it has been tailored to cater for the disabled; the lifts, the toilets, the big shops, the wide aisles, great customer service and wide doors, however it would be even better if most shopping malls had extra services such as to allow individual to hire free wheelchairs and public phones which are low and allow disabled access even some shops in the city are outdated and were built a long time ago. However, there is still room for some redesigning and regeneration so as to provide for better access for all people. This would unquestionably require a large sum of money which may be the root of the problem but in order to follow the Disability Discrimination Act 2004, it is necessary for the town to undergo these changes; service providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to make their services accessible for all. ...read more.

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