Thursday, 28 August 2014

Universal Design – Let’s Do Our Part :)

What is Universal Design? UD refers to “design for everyone”. For a healthy human being like you and me, it’s easy to walk up and down a flight of stairs or get on and off the bus or train. But for people with limited mobility, it is not as easy. These include the physically handicapped, parents with infants in a pram and the elderly.

Just imagine…

If you’re on a wheelchair, and you have to get to a place by yourself without any help from others, are you able to do so with our current facilities? Will you be able to take the bus or train? What if you need to buy something in a mall, but you get there only to realise there’s a flight of stairs at the entrance with no ramps or lifts in sight? What if there are no handrails at the side of the ramps or stairs?

Such difficulties are not limited to the handicapped. As a mother, I completely understand how challenging it can be to bring your child out.

If you’re a parent with an infant who still needs to be wheeled around in a pram, there will be times where you have to carry the pram with your child in it, and walk up a flight of stairs because there are no ramps or escalators nearby. Taking the bus can be quite troublesome because you have to:

1) carry your infant from the pram
2) make sure your bag doesn’t slip off your shoulder
3) retract the pram and carry it up the bus
4) make sure your pram does not fall over on the bus
And when you alight, you have to do everything in reverse!

Even in shopping malls, there have been times when I was unable to use the washroom because I could not squeeze into a toilet cubicle with a pram. There were also times when I was unable to breastfeed because the only nursing room available in the mall was occupied. As a mother I am also worried about the safety of my child. Sometimes, I find that adult toilets can be too high and dangerous for my child to use.

As we age, our bodies also become frail and we lose the strength and vitality to do the things we used to do. Running up a flight of stairs was no problem when we were young but for a 90 year-old man, he risks falling down and fracturing his bones.

A lot is being done to help these different groups of people. In recent years, we have seen an increase in accessible facilities. However, more can be done. We can include Universal Design in more places.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) would like to drive home the importance of Universal Design (UD), and to raise awareness, they have come up with the Universal Design Short Film Competition. Participate in the competition and you could win $5,000 in cash prizes! 

For more information >
Contest entries from 15th August to 30 September 2014

Also, show your support for UD by liking their FB page

And to learn more about UD

Before I end this blog post, I thank you all for reading and hope you are already doing your part to make this world a better place for everyone around you : )


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