When we discuss how pavements, pedestrian crossings or other elements of the city where we travel on foot should look like, very often one word comes up: they should be even. But what is even for one person might not be even enough for someone with disabilities experiencing mobility problems. Any of us can become such a person!
Universal design is all about everybody's needs. It seems that people are more and more aware of the need to create public space adjusted to people with disabilities or parents pushing strollers. On the other hand, we can still think that those cases are not to be applied to ourselves. It is not our problem, it won't be our problem and even if it is, we can still deal with it.
But what I mean here is not necessarily a person on a wheelchair or a person with crutches, because any of us can experience a serious injury. What I mean is that even when we are carrying a heavy suitcase we are experiencing particular mobility issues. In such a situation even the wheels on our suitcase work to our disadvantage.
Therefore, we are happy to present an elaboration whose author is dr hab. inż. arch. Marek Wysocki from the Centre of Univesal Design at the Technical University of Gdańsk. He discusses an issue that is very often forgotten: space that meets the needs of the disabled becomes space which is user-friendly for everyone.
Our expert lists examples of proper planning, but he also suggests what should proper planning start from in order to create space suitable for everybody. He points out that local government strategies should include raising awareness of the office workers, residents and investors working in a particular area in terms of the needs of the users of the area.
I strongly encourage you to read it, get acquainted with good practices and get hooked on how important universal design is. Thanks to it we will live a better and safer life.