Thursday, 18 February 2016
Universal Support for Universal Design*
Kelly Vincent is pleased that the Upper House has given resounding support to her amendments to the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Bill that will increase accessibility for all.
The amendments received unanimous support, meaning South Australian developers will be required to consider universal design for the benefit of all, including people with differing needs and capabilities.
“This is an Australian first. It’s long overdue, and a walk through city and suburban streets shows why we need to promote best practice in access and inclusion planning,” said Ms Vincent.
“It’s startling how often stairs are an impediment; the access arrangements are not clearly signed, or are blocked. Ramps that are too steep, road crossing ramps that just don’t line up, it’s more than frustrating – it’s dangerous.
“Dignity for Disability has ensured universal design principles are now embedded into planning legislation. That’s good news for the whole community – because everyone wants to move around more easily and safely, and that is what universal design provides.
“Universal design goes beyond existing access standards, so rather than retro-fitting a ramp over a step, for example, universal design ensures that there simply is no step. It is inexpensive to implement; in fact it’s really cost-neutral because greater accessibility of public spaces will enable more people to use them safely. Whether you’re a wheelchair or other mobility device user like me, an adult pushing a pram, someone riding a bicycle, delivering goods on a trolley, using a suitcase with wheels, moving furniture etc., you will find universal design principles increase the amenity of the built environment.
“As well as pushing for new, innovative standards, Dignity for Disability continues to seek increased compliance with existing access standards, by lobbying for measures including mandatory compliance monitoring, similar to food safety or occupational health and safety inspections,” said Ms Vincent.
*For some good examples of Universal Design, see this short video (audio described & captioned): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A88E4DH2asQ