The Built Environment

What would it take for our cities and towns to be inclusive of everyone’s needs? For the estimated 15 percent of the world’s population living with a disability, this is the crux: basic urban infrastructure, services and facilities are either difficult to use or out of bounds altogether. The need for sustainable solutions is ever-more critical considering that two-thirds of the world’s population are expected to reside in urban environments by 2050. At stake is the ability to participate and thrive in civic, economic and social life vs a continuation of the structural disadvantages that lead to exclusion, marginalization and poverty.

What are the opportunities to transform our built environments? In this topic area, we will consider brick-and-mortar constructs such as roads and housing as well as public buildings and spaces, while also addressing basic urban services from sanitation and water, to health, education and transportation, to emergency response and resilience programs. On another front, we will assess obstacles to the free flow of communications, including technology, and dig deeper into the negative attitudes that perpetuate unfair urban policies and practices.

We are soliciting ideas from urban development policy makers and practitioners, disability advocates and NGO professionals and other stakeholders who can advance our knowledge of current urban progress and help us design change to benefit all members of society.

We are seeking proposals in the following areas:

  • Accessible transportation, public transit and telecommuting to improve access to work and social activities for people with disabilities;
  • Support systems that enhance the access of people with disabilities in rural settings;
  • Urban Planning as it relates accessibility in the workplace, home and leisure activities;
  • Urban Planning relating to: public service systems; social impact assessments; planning for multiple publics; housing policies and disability communities;
  • Action plans that combat negative impacts of the built environment on mental, physical and social health and on an aging population;
  • Best practices in participatory mechanisms which include all people in decision-making processes in city planning and accessible cities;
  • Presentations that explore and identify the links between accessible urban design and social inclusion;
  • New initiatives as it relates to inclusive development and disability inclusive development;
  • Best practices for inclusive disaster management including emergency preparation;
  • Best practices and evidence based research on accessible housing and built infrastructures as key element for sustainable and inclusive settings;
  • Best practices for developing accessible communication and information technologies for building resilient and inclusive communities and cities;
  • Initiatives that reflect multi-stakeholder approaches and partnerships for advancing inclusive, accessible and sustainable urban developments;
  • Proposals that address the interplay and challenges as it relates to climate change, urban environments and marginalized peoples.

We are particularly interested in receiving presentation proposals from advocates concerning their experiences and recommendations and from international participants providing cross-cultural perspectives.

We welcome all proposals. Please see presentation formats on our webpage at: Please read criteria for each format and ensure that you have the appropriate number of presenters for your chosen format. You may submit proposals online at: or send your proposals via email to If you have questions or need further information, please contact the Pacific Rim team at

For general information on the conference, please contact Charmaine Crockett at, (808) 956-7539. For registration questions please contact the registration desk at, phone (808) 956-8816, fax (808) 956-4437.