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  • Designing for active lives: contextualising toilet provision

Ramster, Gail and Bichard, Jo-Anne, 2019, Conference or Workshop, Designing for active lives: contextualising toilet provision at Healthy City Design International, London, UK, 14-15 Oct 2019.

Abstract or Description:

Access to toilets when away from home is a necessity for living active lives. The tendency to stay at home, or to stick to familiar routes, if toilets are not certain is well reported in research by Help the Aged (2007), Hanson et al (2007), Ramster & Bichard (2011) and, more recently, the Royal Society for Public Health (2019), which concluded that the lack of toilets is “affecting equality, mobility, physical fitness and other aspects of health”.
Our own research and practice reflect this, while also emphasising the fragmented nature of provision (Greed, 2003). Provision can no longer be captured by a catch-all term ‘public toilets’. A range of facilities from the council-owned block to those provided for customers has shifted public toilet provision towards ‘publicly accessible toilets’ (Ramster and Bichard, 2011) shared between public and private providers. Access to many of these facilities, however, may be restricted by the context of use shaping what the user is comfortable with, as well as what they’re entitled to use.
Using data from the Great British Public Toilet Map, we’ll show this diversity of provision and how it compares in different towns across the UK. Factors such as security, anonymity, necessity, expectation and sense of inclusion can feature in people’s ability to use a toilet as much as physical access requirements. How might these be considered and what would that mean in the context of the toilet in the parks, trains, libraries and pubs of the future city?
This work presents the case that to design better, more open and more inclusive toilet provision requires consideration of the context of provision. Previous studies on toilet design agree that the interior is not a one-size-fits-all solution (Greed, 2003; Hanson et al, 2007; Ramster & Bichard, 2011; Slater & Jones, 2018). However, we extend this finding to argue that for toilet provision in healthy city design, the context of provision is also not one-size-fits-all and requires specific interior, product and service design (Bichard, 2015) to meet the needs, challenges and design conflicts for the city’s varied contexts, including park v shopping centre; night v day; enabled v excluded.

Subjects: Architecture > K400 Planning (Urban > K420 Urban and Rural Planning > K421 Urban Planning
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W290 Design studies not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: Research Centres > Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2019 12:22
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2019 12:22
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/4170
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