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Architectural Barriers

05/03/2010

This morning I've come across an article on internet about architectural barriers. Even though we all know what they are, how often do we think about them? Personally, I realise that I think about them very little, possibly only when I have to carry a heavy suitcase around. However, millions of people are affected by them daily.

Despite the growing attention paid by city planners to issues of reduced mobility, there are still evident shortcomings. In several countries, public transport doesn't cater very well (if at all) for people on wheelchairs, and often even pavements and pedestrian paths contain difficult hurdles. Cities like Edinburgh are characterized by numerous stone-built tenements flats which are, most of the times, completely inaccessible. Also public facilities, despite stricter regulations, can still be off-limits.

 

The article I read this morning suggested an interesting action to raise awareness of the impact of architectural barriers on the lives of several people: do not buy from those businesses that are not accessible to everybody.

 

I'm actually surprised at how, with this little thought experiment, the map of the city changes drastically. I feel as if the friendly city I'm used to has changed into a wild place riddled of sneaky traps and out-of-bounds signs.

 

I haven't tried out the article's suggestion in real life, but I've already in mind a couple of pubs which would have to be ruled out, and I definitely feel angry at the idea of not being allowed in. I guess I'm just scratching what a number of people are experiencing every single day, and my actions are not likely to change their reality. However, if we all shared the same point of view, we would probably live in a more accessible cities and in a fairer world. Why not taking this experiment as just the first step?

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