Andrea Pacheco Barzallo
José Fariña
Eva Álvarez de Andrés


During disasters the death of persons with disabilities is higher than that of the rest of the population. This problem has many causes, and one of them has to do with the conditions of the physical environments which are not accessible for all, implying that people with disabilities require more time and effort to try to escape from dangerous places, protect themselves, and reach safety areas such as public spaces where people can gather, help each other, and remain safe at least during the first hours of an emergency. Thus, identifying the main problems that could prevent public spaces from becoming risk handling and inclusion resources during a disaster within social production settings is the main purpose of this research. The methodology used includes literature review, spatial audits based on inclusion and risk reduction standards within all public spaces of three neighborhoods of the city of Quito in Ecuador, and focus groups with the neighbors, persons with disabilities and their families. The three case studies selected are Atucucho, Carapungo and Auqui de Monjas, all present high disaster risk levels and have characteristics of social production of their territories. The results show that the conditions that need attention to enable public spaces become risk handling and inclusion resources during disasters have to do with three different dimensions; the first one refers to their physical characteristics and informational elements which must comply with universal accessibility requirements that provide autonomy and safety to all; the second dimension has to do with their connectivity, both on their ability to generate a network close to the community as well as to multi-modal mobility; the third dimension has to do with social and cultural aspects as persons with disabilities often feel that public spaces are not friendly for them because these are being occupied by other groups such as young people or that they are privatized in some way.


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How to Cite
Pacheco Barzallo, A., Fariña, J. and Álvarez de Andrés, E. (2022) “Public Open Spaces: Enabling or Impeding Inclusive Evacuation during Disasters”, The Journal of Public Space, 7(2), pp. 79–92. doi: 10.32891/jps.v7i2.1474.
Author Biographies

Andrea Pacheco Barzallo, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid & Universidad Internacional del Ecuador

Architect, MSc. in management of technology, master’s in urban planning, PhD candidate in urban planning at the Technical University of Madrid and Lecturer at the International University of Ecuador, with experience on universal accessibility standardization and research. The focus of my research is inclusion of older persons with disabilities, particularly within informal settings where exclusion and poverty intersect. During the last ten years I have participated on projects seeking to influence universal accessibility and inclusive disaster risk management, like the Ecuadorian Methodology for Universal Accessibility Plans which won the prize as best practice by the Design for All Foundation, and INGRID-H, a methodology to implement inclusive disaster risk reduction plans in hospitals.

José Fariña, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Dr. Arquitecto, Licenciado en Derecho, Técnico Urbanista del IEAL y Máster en Organización de Empresas. Catedrático de Universidad. Desde julio de 2018 Profesor Emérito de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Fue director de la revista Urban y en la actualidad lo es de Ci[ur]. Miembro del Consejo de Redacción de CF+S, del Comité Científico de las revistas TRIA, RETICULA, URBS, PLANUR-e y del Comité Hábitat español. Experto en Buenas Prácticas del Ministerio de Fomento, de la FEMP, y del Working Group on Urban Design for Sustainability de la Unión Europea. También del Grupo de Trabajo sobre Construcción Sostenible del Comité Técnico de Normalización AEN CTN-041 de AENOR. Miembro de GBCe, del comité científico de ASA y de la Asociación Española de Técnicos Urbanistas. Ha recibido diferentes premios y distinciones entre los que destacan, el primer premio de Tesis Doctorales del Instituto de Estudios de Administración Local y el PLEA Awards 2020 de la organización Passive and Low Energy Architecture.

Eva Álvarez de Andrés, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Architect, PhD in urban planning and lecturer at the DUyOT. I have more than 25 years' experience in research-action projects aimed at accompanying excluded communities in their struggle to make their right to housing and the city effective in different regions: Europe, Latin America, and Africa. I am member of several international networks such as AESOP or N_AERUS. I have participated in several EU-funded projects and as an international consultant for organisations such as Cities Alliance. Author of more than 20 publications, in international journals. An experience that he incorporates into the master's degree as coordinator of the subject "Urban Challenges of the Global South in the 21st Century" in the MUPUT - DUyOT - ETSA - UPM.


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