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COVID-19: Social distancing and the right to access to society for all


Illustration: Johanna Rydeman

Collaboration on COVID-19 and inclusiveness between Anna Bruce, Senior researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute and Per-Olof Hedvall, Associate professor in Rehabilitation Engineering and Design, Director of Research at Certec, Faculty of Engineering LTH at Lund University.

From Anna Bruce’s and Per-Olof Hedvall’s blogpost on COVID-19:

“This is the situation of many persons with disabilities. What a wide range of people are experiencing right now is what it is like to be denied access to core functions of society, such as schools and workplaces. In itself, there is nothing new in this.

For persons with disabilities, restricted access is often the normal state of affairs, with the significant difference that they often find themselves without prospect of the situation being remedied or ended.


Creating new barriers rather than new opportunities at this time of enforced change would truly add to the current tragedy. Necessity is the mother of invention. Even if the necessity of change remained invisible until the problem of social distancing affected the majority population, let us go forward in a truly inclusive manner. Forward, towards a societal development understanding and cherishing human diversity as an untapped resource, previously concealed by the imagined ‘normal’ person. Let us utilise Universal Design as a proactive strategy capable of propelling communities towards a sustainable, cohesive state of togetherness and resiliency. Not resilient to change, but resilient when changing.”

Read the blogpost on COVID-19 on Raoul Wallenberg Institute’s webpage:

Contact Per-Olof Hedvall at Certec, Design Science's for more information: