A research that is worth Dh10million is currently taking place in Dubai. The study is geared towards Dubai becoming to be the one of the world’s most disabled-friendly cities come 2020.
The study launched last Wednesday reports that among the targets for change are hospitals, schools, park and transport. About four major projects will take place by end of the year which intends to improve access and eventually be used as models to be replicated across Dubai by 2020.
Vice Chairman of the Higher Committee for Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Abdullah Al Shaibani tells media that the initiatives will be the first step in the roadmap until 2020. Further, he admits it’s going to be a long process requiring a lot of effort beginning with the ground evaluation. International standards should be considered in order to see what works better for the environment. Once the evaluation becomes ready, preparation over buildings, hospitals and public access will start.
Government officials and consultants, after the study is finished, will identify the areas that will be provided with better access. The eight month long research will produce a uniform standard covering ramp sizes and width, entrance buildings as well as public toilets.
The government encourages the public, specifically the disabled, to send photographs of problem areas or contribute ideas to make the city more disabled-friendly. The people can send proposals through a hotline as well as smartphone application. “Inputs from the disabled people itself is beneficial”, said Khaled Al Kamda, Director General of the Community Development Authority.
The overall idea of the project is about Dubai being a “barrier-free city”. Once barriers are removed, there will no longer be obstacles. The five year plan project ensures that buildings, road infrastructures and public transport are spot on. Because accessibility is a challenge our disabled brothers face every day, the government must protect their rights, create programs and support their cause to encourage better participation in the society.
New building and infrastructure projects must incorporate the standards set in their design, while older structures must be revamped as needed. The premises of the Metro System may already be accessible but there are still issues outside of the station.
Shobhika Kalra, founder of Wings Of Angels said it best, “Only when we voice our opinions will change happen. People need to have more awareness of what people on wheelchairs are capable of.”