Designing Inclusive Spaces: Our role as Environmental Consultants for the LGBTQIA+ community

18.06.2024 3 min read

As part of Pride Month at Temple, one of our EIA consultants Evie is sharing her thoughts on designing inclusive spaces:  for the LGBTQIA+ community

Celebrating Pride this year I wanted to spotlight how Environmental Planning Consultants can support in creating inclusive spaces for LGBTQIA+ communities.

The need for specialised LGBTQIA+ focussed development is long overdue, and it is therefore very exciting to see new local initiatives popping up on the scene. Great Places began their consultation in January for the UK’s first LGBTQ+ majority Extra Care Facility in Manchester, while Leeds Pride of Place is tackling the housing gap for LGBTQIA+ communities. It is inspiring to see both projects are involving the communities to shape their design principles and I look forward to seeing their progress. So how can we as environmental consultants consider LGBTQ communities through design? Here are my thoughts to consider:

Understand our needs in the LGBTQIA+ community

Inclusive design requires inclusive consultation – Have you reached out to the community to find out their material concerns, and what they would like to see? Having an effective stakeholder engagement plan is your first step in designing an inclusive environment that will be used positively by the community. This could include a range of research methods such as surveys, focus groups and public consultation events to listen and engage the community.

Promoting Inclusive Spaces

For LGTBQIA+ communities, fostering a sense of belonging and safety is key to well thought out and inclusive designs. Finding safe and welcoming spaces is not always straight forward for us within the LGBTQIA+ community. Consideration to health and social needs should be given to ensure essential health facilities, amenities and affordable housing is provided for the LGBTQIA+ communities are incorporated into policies and designs.

There is a fine balance between having privacy and not feeling judged, without being isolated and unsafe. Having meaningful public spaces, with an appropriate lighting design, which provides security, whilst also being inviting and warm is important. The inclusion of street furniture that celebrates queer communities will set a welcoming and inclusive scene.

Celebrating History, Culture and Art

Heritage and Art are fantastic ways of celebrating a place’s cultural history, and bringing places to life through murals, art installations and sculptures. A notable local example includes the Memorial in Sackville Gardens, Manchester celebrating Alan Turing, and the colourful Viaduct Bridge on Lower Briggate, Leeds.

Cities like York and Leeds have paved the way for celebrating Queer Heritage, where the Rainbow Plaques project commemorates the queer history with a twist on the classic heritage Blue Plaque. This project emerged through community workshops that collaborated with residents to create temporary plaques.

I would love to meet more LGBTQIA+ members in the field and open up further conversations on how we as environmental consultants can support in creating more inclusive developments. If you would like to connect, drop me a message on LinkedIn.


Key Contacts

Evie Scott Senior Consultant - EIA