Servicing Utopia

City Centre Toilets

For many people the availability of toilets is fundamental to accessing to the city centre. While these spaces are under threat, the social role of public toilets needs to be reevaluated.

Click the highlighted objects to find out how users experience this toilet space.

Ensure that there is enough space for people to access the toilet

It is important to provide enough space for wheelchair users to get in and out of the toilet. Ensure that door widths are big enough for all wheelchair types. In addition, there needs to be space within the toilet for wheelchair users to park and get out of their wheelchair.

Public toilets should be signposted effectively in urban spaces

Public toilets play a central role in supporting different people's access to towns and cities. They should be well signposted within town and city centres, with signs that indicate how far they are away so that people can judge whether or not they can get to them in time.

Clustering toilets in multiple sites

Clustering toilets in the same place can be a helpful way of making toilets easy to find. Consider more than one cluster of toilets positioned near heavily used areas with prominent signage to direct people to them. When toilets are hard to find many people cannot access them when they need them.

Think about when toilets should be open to the public

In the early stages of the design process it is important to think about the times when toilets will be open in order to maximise use. If toilets will be open through the night, it is necessary to think about the design implications.

Radar locks have pros and cons

While radar locks support the privacy of disabled people, many disabled people don't own a radar key. Such locks can limit the accessibility of toilet spaces for some people.

Consider the requirements of people with visual impairments

The use of tactile symbols and or audio descriptions of toilet layouts allow people with visual impairments to be able to identify which toilet best represents their requirements and navigate the space inside.

Prioritise the inclusion of gender neutral facilities

Changing Places

Gender neutral facilities can benefit many people including: non-binary, genderqueer and other gender variant people; trans people; LGB and queer people; a parent with a child of a different gender; disabled people; and people with carers or personal assistants of a different gender.

Use toilet signage that represents all users

Often toilet signage does not represent the identity of the people who want to use the facilities. For example, not all people using the disabled toilet are wheelchair users. Consider using toilet signage that is descriptive (what is inside the toilet) rather than prescriptive (who can use the toilet).

Toilets for older children

Changing Places

As children get older they can become more aware of gender identity and may start to feel uncomfortable about going into a toilet with a parent/carer of a different gender to themselves. Providing gender neutral toilets allows children to be accompanied by parents without feeling uncomfortable.



The disabled toilet should not be the only gender neutral option

Some users who do not feel comfortable using male or female toilets find that the disabled toilet is their only option. But this can limit access to other users who need the facilities it provides. The provision of more gender neutral toilets therefore aids access.

Consider using words instead of the wheelchair symbol on a disabled toilet

Disabled people who do not use a wheelchair also require the facilities and space provided in a disabled toilet. The use of a wheelchair symbol does not represent all disabled people.

Advertise toilet spaces accurately

Disabled toilets that are regularly used for storage, for example, do not serve their advertised purpose. When toilets advertised as wheelchair accessible are not, users find there is no toilet available to them when they need it.