The American equivalent, Spirit Day, originated in 2010 to show solidarity to gay youth, as the attention on social media was focused on their high suicide rates. Purple was chosen as the representative because in the rainbow flag, it indicated spirit and enthusiasm. To give young people a helping hand.
For the new generation of young people, I think the message we should send is to bring all sexual orientations in mutual respect, and that includes the Purple community. Now that diversity emphasizes differences; inclusivity will strengthen interconnectedness. Inclusivity is an increasingly important notion in schools, at universities and at work. But building inclusivity is not limited to institutions; a big question mark about inclusive design is also emerging in the built environment.
The ever-increasing diversity in cities reinforces the need for a built environment that supports inclusiveness. There are special assistance programs for the blind and visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing and hospital patients already in some public buildings. One of such examples includes viewing art through a multi-sensory experience. This is an excellent example for in the built environment, designers should be more committed to inclusiveness because it will foster diverse public. It should not be the case that people are denied access or cannot enter on practical grounds, such as wheelchair users at a museum without an elevator. Or without a 'restriction'-as well as having black skin. For architects and urban planners an example to design according to the statement: the built environment should be as inviting and accessible to all.
Inclusive design should be accessible for all types of users: children, adults, all ages, all genders and gender identities, all nationalities, sexual orientations and levels of ability- the list could go on and on.
Diversity starts very simply by urban planners and designers. They often assume only existing, dominant uses in public spaces. Examples of this could be designing a soccer field in a square, men (dominant user) like to kick a ball around, while women's wishes remain invisible. The desires of women and girls in public space often include good lighting, a central location and good visibility instead.
To achieve an inclusive design, spaces should be barrier-free and as convenient to use as possible. These spaces should also have the potential to make all individuals more confident and energized. To improve the ratio of functional to optional use of public space, there need to be a mix of elements and functions that all individuals like to use. By designing more for these diverse groups you support to meet and simultaneously combine optional activities, therefore a lot of benefits can be gained for the increasing diversity in cities.
The future perspective could be, when the youth who are familiar with Purple Friday leave their school environment, lots of public spaces are merged into inclusiveness design. The message of Purple Friday will then not be lost, and the new generation of young people will be stimulated as ever in an inclusive built environment, and hopefully not think in different groups anymore. They will perhaps become the first genuinely inclusive generation. I think we can only celebrate that some architectural firms are taking the lead in this complex issue. Inclusive or universal design has only just begun to become the norm, but hey - better late than never!