What would a truly disabled-accessible city look like?

Cobblestones Near The Royal Mile Edinburgh

Source: The Guardian


Most cities are utterly unfriendly to people with disabilities – but with almost one billion estimated to be urban-dwellers by 2050, a few cities are undergoing a remarkable shift.

To David Meere, a visually impaired man from Melbourne , among the various obstacles to life in cities is another that is less frequently discussed: fear.

“The fear of not being able to navigate busy, cluttered and visually oriented environments is a major barrier to participation in normal life,” says Meere, 52, “be that going to the shops, going for a walk in the park, going to work, looking for work, or simply socialising.”

That’s what makes an innovative project at the city’s Southern Cross train station so important to him. A new “beacon navigation system” sends audio cues to users via their smartphones, providing directions, flagging escalator outages and otherwise transforming what previously a “no-go” area for Meere.“I no longer have to hope there’s a willing bystander or a capable staff member to provide direct assistance,” he says. “And on a very personal and powerful level it allows me to use this major transport hub in one of Australia’s largest cities with certainty and independence as a parent with small children. It’s a real game-changer.”

Read the full story on The Guardian website.

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