Nairobi, 9 December 2021—To mark this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which is commemorated on 3 December each year, UN-Habitat has made a call for stories on accessibility in public spaces.
“As a part of the work on accessible public spaces, UN-Habitat's Global Public Space Team is making a call for stories about accessibility of public spaces for persons with disabilities and older persons.
Under the hashtag #Road2Accessibility, UN-Habitat encourages persons and organisations to share stories of accessible public spaces as well as individual perspectives on challenges and difficulties that can be met when accessing a certain public space,” the agency said in a statement.
The statement added that the call, to run from 3 December 2021 to 3 February 2022, will help the team at UN-Habitat to understand potential challenges faced by users of public spaces, specifically ones who identify as people with disabilities.
Furthermore, the call intends to highlight good examples of accessible public spaces with low-cost design solutions that can be replicated by local governments in numerous contexts. stories will inform the work of a new publication that guides local actors on how to increase low-cost accessible urban spaces in their cities.
“The aim is to collect both stories of good examples of accessible public spaces as well as public spaces that are more challenging in terms of accessibility for users. We welcome submissions from everyone, especially persons who identify themselves as a person with disabilities and/or an older person. Submissions can be made in different media formats such as: photos, videos, art, poems and written texts,” the statement added.
It is envisaged that the stories would help UN-Habitat to:
- Understand the challenges users face in using a public space.
- Learn more about the contexts in which public spaces are inaccessible.
- Understand the impacts of poorly designed public spaces on persons with disability and older persons, their families, support persons and our community.
- Highlight good examples of accessible public spaces with low-cost design solutions that can be replicated by local governments in numerous contexts.
- Gather information relevant to our new guide on public space accessibility for persons with disabilities and older persons.
Cities are crucial drivers of inclusive development to create accessible public spaces. Nonetheless, the road to accessibility is still a long way to go for many cities around the world. Although the topic is being recognised globally, many cities still lack the capacity to deliver good accessible public spaces, as well as the means to engage with persons with disabilities and older persons.
In order to comply with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) including CRPD Article 3, CRPD Article 9 and the New Urban Agenda, public spaces need to be accessible and persons with disabilities need to be engaged in the planning and design process.
The inclusion of persons with disabilities is a central part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the commitment to leave no one behind.
Persons with disabilities are one of the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, from a lack of contact with supporting persons and less mobility outside of the home to comply with stay-at-home guidelines, many have lost autonomy. Consequently, accessibility and the inclusion of persons with disabilities and older persons is even more urgent.