2010-10-20: In Europe … we are experts at talking about an Accessible Built Environment … and hopeless when it comes to effective implementation …
Built Environment: Anywhere there is, or has been, a man-made or wrought (worked) intervention by humans in the natural environment, e.g. cities, towns, villages, rural settlements, roads, bridges, tunnels, transport systems, service utilities, and cultivated lands, lakes, rivers, coasts, seas, etc. … including the Virtual Environment.
Virtual Environment: A designed environment, electronically-generated from within the Built Environment, which may have the appearance, form, functionality and impact – to the person perceiving and actually experiencing it – of a real, imagined and/or utopian world.
However, I would like to share not just one single moment in Japan, but a Series of Special Moments … where I was observing and studying, up close and personal, the ‘real’ implementation of Accessibility-for-All in Public Places … including some discrete detailing at the Main Gate to Kanazawa Castle … Ishikawa-mon.
When I say Accessibility-for-All … I mean Accessibility Design, with all of the rambling philosophical bullshit removed. The emphasis can then properly be placed on a high level of quality in Actual Accessibility Performance provided for users of the built environment … all users, because many of the details shown in the photographs below make movement in and around public places safer and more convenient for everybody.
Some of the many Aspects in Japan which, together, facilitate this high level of quality in Actual Accessibility Performance …
- A robust legal base mandating the provision of Accessibility-for-All ;
- Determined political will ;
- Sufficient financial resources ;
- A compassionate and understanding bureaucracy – at all levels in society ;
- Competence, i.e. education, training and experience, of spatial planners, architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, etc … and members of construction organizations ;
- Innovative, well-designed accessibility-related products which can be shown to be ‘fit for their intended use’.
The following European Guideline Framework … which I drafted in 2003, and later incorporated into the 2004 Rio de Janeiro Declaration on Sustainable Social Development, Disability & Ageing … is useful …
Guideline Framework on EU Equal Opportunity & Social Inclusion for All
Click the Link Above to read and/or download PDF File (82kb)
Much of the Accessibility Detailing in Japan far exceeds, in quality of performance, what is described in the Proposed International Standards Organization (ISO) Accessibility-for-All Standard … to be published, hopefully(!), in 2011 … and here is a small taste …
It is important to link one activity/task/function with the next … (please ignore the awkward step up at the entrance to the train carriage … instead, look at the wonderful entrance detail in the next photograph below) …
What a beauty !
Common everywhere … a closer look at the information which can very easily be provided on all handrails …
The Main Gate to Kanazawa Castle … Ishikawa-mon …