Universal Cities

More and more countries are passing legislation to ensure that people with disabilities are allowed to participate fully and equitably in society. UNCRPD Article 9 mandates implementation of Universal Design. “Universal Cities” is Samarthyam’s campaign in South Asia to make cities universally accessible.

Samarthyam: Project Accessible Auroville ©

While Auroville was making some efforts towards creating accessible environments these were found to be insufficient. Samarthyam recommended that all public buildings and guest houses in Auroville be made barrier-free and in each ‘community’ at least two ground floor living spaces should be made fully accessible. A subsequent workshop in 2011 by Samarthyam marked the beginning of a comprehensive inclusive urban development strategy. Codes specifying what should be done in all public buildings in Auroville to ensure full accessibility should be framed and implemented by the department-in-charge.

Within the next two to three years we have to see real movement on the accessibility issue. This means drawing up guidelines for public buildings and large blocks of apartments and putting them into practice. The project motto- “We start today”.

Samarthyam: Project Accessible Goa ©

In association with Government of Goa, Samarthyam has organized Training of Trainer (ToT) workshops on creation of Resource Pool of Access Auditors to accomplish the goal “Accessible Goa by 2008”.

In 2004 and 2007 several such trainings were organized to train engineers and architects in batches. These trainings have led in promotion of massive accessible features in the entire state of Goa. Goa was awarded National Award for Barrier Free State in 2006 by the President of India.

In 2011-12, three ToT were organized and Access Co-ordination Cell is created with NGOs, DPOs and professionals.

In Goa, all government schools, all public buildings including post offices, police stations, jails, factories and fish & grocery markets, gardens, economy hotels, etc. are universally accessible.